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There are never any suicides in the quarter among people
No successful suicides.
A Chinese boy kills himself and is dead.
(they continue to place his mail in the letter rack at the Dome)
A Norwegian boy kills himself and is dead.
(no one knows where the other Norwegian boy has gone)
They find a model dead
alone in bed and very dead.
(it made almost unbearable trouble for the concierge)
Sweet oil, the white of eggs, mustard and water, soap suds
and stomach pumps rescue the people one knows.
Every afternoon the people one knows can be found at the café.
About This Poem
“Montparnasse” was originally published in Hemingway’s first published work, Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923). The collection was privately published in a run of 300 copies by Robert McAlmon‘s “Contact Publishing” in Paris. Many of Hemingway’s poems, although not widely known, explore subjects often found in his fiction: sex and desire, war and its aftermath, and suicide.
Ernest Hemingway was an American author and journalist, born on July 21, 1899. His writing is known for its spare dialogue and straightforward style. During the 1920s, Hemingway became a member of a group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his classic novel The Sun Also Rises (1926). During his life, Hemingway published seven novels, six short story collections, and two nonfiction works. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961.