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like the leaf of a tree

October 23, 2010

Death is what conceptual language represents negatively, like a hole, a void, but poetic speech can invert this, make it positive. […]  Since thanks to poetry the world is closer, and its unity more perceptible, we feel more part of that unity—like the leaf of a tree, even if it falls off the branch, in an instant that is eternal. So what is death? But I have to add that all this is true only in theory. Poetry would be just that—transcending death—if it were not inaccessible; we can only try to approach it. That is why one should not call oneself a poet. It would be pretentious. It would mean that one has resolved the problems poetry presents. Poet is a word one can use when speaking of others, if one admires them sufficiently. If someone asks me what I do, I say I’m a critic, or a historian.

Yves Bonnefoy

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2010 3:57 pm

    i thought how this is so true, the problems of poetry not solved, the mystery not solved, as if, or if ever. just the other day or so i signed a contract selling some of my photostuff and it said “artist sign here” which exactly induced this pretentious feeling, cringing about oneself… why should one ever call oneself anything i wonder….

  2. November 7, 2010 6:24 pm

    personally i think we are largely shamed into assuming such identities. this fellow may be in agreement.
    be well.

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