|Blaise Cendrars was born Frederic Louis Sauser. He changed his name in 1911 to a coinage that suggests "blaze + ashes + art." As Cendrars put it, "To write is to burn alive." Cendrars became an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde before World War I upon publication of his poetry collection, "Easter in New York". He served in the French Foreign Legion, was wounded in 1915, and had his right arm amputated. His fiction was often nihilistic and anarchic. Cendrars was a war correspondent in World War II (in which his younger son died). His postwar fiction tended to be contemplative and mystical, as well as overtly autobiographical.