After his early death from Spanish flu in 1918, three volumes of Guillaume Apollinaire’s erotic poetry were published posthumously, here collected under the title Poésies libres, ‘libre’ in the sense of ‘explicit’. Cortège priapique (Priapic Parade) appeared in 1925, Julie ou la rose (Julie, or The Rose) in 1927, and Le verger des amours (The Orchard of Love) in 1928. As with most of his poetry, Apollinaire’s style is modern and experimental, and very definitely libre – but as he explained, ‘Le vice n’entre pas dans les amours sublimes’ (immorality cannot coexist with sublime love). For more background about Apollinaire and his erotic poetry, see the 1934 portfolio created by Berthomme Saint-André here.

For this edition of Apollinaire Suzanne Ballivet produced four wonderful colour plates, one for each of the poem sequences and a larger frontispiece. In a style similar to her Initiations amoureuses produced two years later, her lovers are clearly enjoying their intimacy.

The volume shows no publisher or date, but is produced ‘En souvenir d’Isidore Liseux’ (the famous French publisher), and is ‘réservée aux seuls amis d’Isidore Liseux et ne peut être mise dans le commerce’ (reserved for Liseux’s friends and not available for sale).