Jean-Pierre Siméon was born on May 6, 1950, in Paris. He graduated from the Faculty of Letters in Clermond-Ferrand and became an “agrégé” teacher of Modern Literature in 1974. In 2012, the City Council named the City Library after him.
In 1978 he published his book Traquer la louve (To Hunt Down a She-Wolf), Chambelland Publishing House (The “Théophile Briant” Prize).
At the beginning of the 80s he met Jean-François Manier and Martine Mellinete, who had just set up the printing press Cheyne la Chambon-sur-Lignon, which subsequently became the famous publishing house with the same name. He had published all his poetry books and participated in the editorial activity of this publishing house until recently – that is, until he published an important anthology entitled Lettre à ma femme aimé au sujet de la mort et autres poèmes in the Gallimard pocket format collection.
In 1984 he won the “Antonin Artaud” prize for the volume Fuite de l’imobile (The Running of the Immovable One), Cheyne, 1984.
In 1987 he set up the Poetry Seminar at Clermont-Ferrand.
In the 80s he had several novels published by Castor Astral Publishing House, among which Matière nuit (Night Matter) in 1987 and Passage du désire (Desire Passing) in 1988 can be mentioned.
In 1994 he won the “Apollinaire” prize for the volume Le sentiment du monde (The Feeling of the World), Cheyne, 1993. A few years later he became a member of the distinguished jury, the president of which he became in 2014.
In 1996 he began his creative career in the field of drama, Stabat Mater Furiosa being his first theater success. More than fifteen of his plays have been staged, Philoctète, based on Sophocle’s dramatic text, being particularly well-received – it was a box-office success at the Odéon Theater in Paris.
In 1998 he was awarded the Great “Mont-Saint-Michel” Prize for his entire poetic work.
In 2001 he became the artistic director of the famous international poetry festival “Printemps des poètes” (“The Poets’ Spring”) of which he was in charge until 2017. During the same interval, Jean-Pierre Siméon continued his pedagogical activity, leading and inspiring poetry and drama workshops. He also translated from Carolyn Carlson’s poetry and organized several Poetry events together.
In 2006 he was awarded the “Max Jacob” prize for the volume Lettre à ma femme aimé au sujet de la mort and, later that year, he received the “Lucian Blaga” international poetry prize in Cluj-Napoca, for the same volume, translated by Dinu Flămând – who also authored the preface – as Scrisoare despre moarte adresată femeii iubite/A Letter about Death Written to the Woman I love, Limes Publishing House.
In 2015 he published the essay La poésie sauvera le monde (Poetry Will Save the World), an ardent plea for the poetry cherishing emotion, rising against the nihilistic tendencies.
He has authored a few dozens of volumes of poems, dramatic works, essays and translations. His poetic and dramatic works have been translated into more than fifteen languages.
Jean-Pierre Siméon is currently in charge of the poetry section of the Gallimard Publishing House.
In August 2022, he won The Great Prize of the French Academy for his entire poetic work.