Thursday, January 26, 2006

more char

In "Hunters of Herbs" (Susanne Dubroff’s translation), Rene Char says, "it’s when one hasn’t recognized oneself anymore that one has arrived." Whatever else is hidden in this observation, or meant by it, it suggests that "arrival" (a loaded word), coincides with a kind of erasure of the self or an inability to recognize oneself, perhaps an enlargement of the self beyond its known boundaries. You have stepped into a realm of awareness you hadn’t known was there or didn’t think was accessible to you. Something strips away the self you had, momentarily I suppose, revealing it to be just a costume, fashionable at the time of your living, but little more than a way for you to be in benign relationship to others of your time, recognizable to one another as fellow creatures and not the secret alien you and all others might actually be, a being you could hardly identify as your self or any other object in the world as you’ve come to know it, and so something of a threat to your fellow creature. From which perspective, though, as Char hints, real life might be seen/known/lived. As "Aversions" has it, "Here’s what we have to keep asking ourselves: how can we restore to mankind its night of dreaming and where can we find it? And how can we cheat the horrors haunting men: with the help of what magical properties, with what advanced and millienial love?" This is a man who fought in the Resistance during World War II. He knew something of the horrors haunting men and knew that something more than poetry was needed to push them back. I would assume that this why his poetry seeks to be "more" than poetry.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

rene char

Hello, blogworld. Rogger the Blogger here. Who, as you see, has been away for a time. But, he has been reading, and in fact stumbled into translations of Rene Char recently, one of which gave him the best poetry jolt he's had in some time. The translator is Susanne Dubroff, and the poem in question opens with these lines:

"You feel pressed to write
As if you were behind in life"

Rushing to catch up to the present, you might say. A feeling, I'm sure, more common than any of us would like. The presentation of a fixed condition, always about to reach the receding shirttail of the faster racer. But, then, what would it be like to be "ahead in life?"

I hope to have more to say about Char when I finish reading the book.