Academic journal article French Forum

Volume 2. Gros Plans: Contemporary Individual, Poetic Practices

Academic journal article French Forum

Volume 2. Gros Plans: Contemporary Individual, Poetic Practices

Article excerpt


  La difference, c'est que d'une certaine facon la
  transcendance reintegre la page [...] [La
  transcendance], c'est de travailler la question
  du sens, de l'apparition du sens, dans le langagc.
  Finalement par lc langage, ce qui m'interesse,
  c'est [creer] une image qui bouge. (Anne Portugal) (1)

In the series of articles that constitute "Gros Plans", the work of established figures is presented alongside that of more recent or less well known poets without any intention to set up clear lines of influence between the generations. The articles represent a variety of approaches, on the part of both critics and the practitioners discussed. That the latter are not easily assigned to groups or movements says less about their work than it does about the relative lack of importance of such movements in the contemporary poetic scene.

Different strands of poetry all retain a special status for poetic language, either separated from the world or still in direct reference to it. This alternative constitutes two ways of being "metaphysical", and also applies to lyricism: even form can become lyrical in the musical, rhythmic sense. Formalism corresponds to new ways of sensing the world, via abstraction, but still using rhythms, lines, and "lines" newly defined via displacement and spatialization. These poetic forms "express" through rejection of subjective expression, and embrace objective expression of form, employing resonance, tension, ruptures and interruptions.

The approach adopted by the authors of the articles included in this issue--that of close reading of verbal and visual texts--is essential to an understanding of what such poetic practice is seeking to achieve as it questions and exceeds the limits of what might be called poetry.

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Among the generic boundaries crossed in the articles on poetic practice presented here, philosophy figures prominently, but not in such a way that a theoretical position is applied to a text as a template. Rather, authors tease out the ways in which philosophy and poetry might independently be exploring the same preoccupations.

Emily McLaughlin's analysis of the haptic potential of Bonnefoy's Debut et fin de la neige via Nancy and Derrida allows for a reading in which the possibility of contact between self and world, and the failure of that contact, are both viewed as offering creative potential. In this way, the article troubles the accepted divide between poets, such as Bonnefoy, deemed to operate within a metaphysics of presence, and the work of Derrida, whose writing has been most influential in critiquing that metaphysics.

Derrida is called upon on several occasions in other articles: when Eric Trudel explores the ways in which Alferi taps into the animal world to create an imaginary bestiary which also embodies his own conception of poetic gesture, rhythm, vitality, and when Elodie Laiigt unravels the use of aphorisms in Godard and Cioran, thus reshuffling fixed notions of reference, temporalities, and artistic discourse.

Barthes and Blanchot are called upon at key moments in the analysis of Leve's work by Luigi Magno, (an analysis profoundly based on the mis(use) and re- and de-contextualization of enunciatory processes found in the media), where Barthes's and Blanchot's "le neutre" combine to identify the unique "timbre" of Leve's works, between the personal and the impersonal, and between discourses.

Genevieve Guetemme's commentary, itself based on a duality of means--criticism and photography--refers to Deleuze and Barthes, but also Ranciere, to support her conceptualization of the entre-deux which she sees at the heart of Bonhomme's work, and which inspires her own poetic-photographic creation, without ever conflating both media.

Clemence O'Connor shows that while Derrida, once again, may be an important reference (she cites a poem Dohollau dedicated to Derrida, and argues that there is a process of differance operating in Dohollau's work also), this need not be incompatible with a discussion of all that is "other" to language, a discussion that also makes reference to Benjamin and Heidegger. …

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