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sensual intellects

March 16, 2009

In her Journal, [Catherine Pozzi] recorded the harrowing circumstances in which the poem was written. “Toward midnight,” she notes, recalling her chest pains, “I went to the restroom. Sitting on the floor, I gave myself a shot of Sédol. […] I hadn’t used such shots for five months. […] Peace then came over me. I could think of Lionardo [Valéry] without despair. To the rhythm of the train, I sang to myself and slowly invented, verse by verse, the [poetic] form [corresponding to] the suffering.” At the end of “Vale,” Pozzi once again imagines her dead body; yet she nonetheless survives in the “form of a heart” through which she will be able to “relive our great day / And that love that I gave you / For pain.” Oddly, only at this ethereal instant does the formal vous of her initial words to Valéry become tu. (more on Catherine Pozzi and a review of a new biography of Paul Valéry )

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