overabounding matter of words
" Devant la parole ", P.O.L.,
Scherzo, XI, october 2000
from the original French by Catherine Wieder
should read Devant la parole over and over again, i.e.
slowly, carefully, with one's pen in one's hand,
dialoguing with such a high-pitched book. One should
prick up one's ears as deep as possible since our speech
is hereby made to quiver. Here must we bend ourselves
towards the bottom of the well: there words do rest.
There must we go deep down
follows is but too short an account of reading, the very
first snatches of a quiet and dim conversation. It is
uncompleted, hence should be resumed.
will feel compelled to read over and over again Devant
la parole, and repeat it again and
is a pondering over language becoming more than pondering
over a matter of words. Hence taking into account
language as such, more than its mysterious whereabouts,
i.e. such a specific personal emotion which is
experienced by anyone who speaks, by anyone who talks
from here within speech. Every one is indeed the
traveller of such a language through his own body, his
mortal unwilling body experience having become uncanny or
alien to one's own self within the very act of believing
he may translate it and voice it. How do words exist
within us? Such is indeed the question hereby
Novarina thus answers: poetry is man's alcohol, i.e. that
very ephemeral distillate of both flesh and existence,
the breath of our "light dwelling" of a body clad in mere
earth. Poetry is "speech blown in the
speech, do I become strange, thus a living creature.
Language serves as memory: i.e. work of art or stock,
depositing alluvium over reality. Speech rises and
searches: flees and flies away, blows.
are man's wings: two lungs blow, two bags made of air
hence from speech may surge. Those wings are not made for
rising up but for the poem's sake. Inside, the beat of
what is both close and far away. Inside, azure rests.
Inside a void swallows space. Within, there must be lips
to voice these very lungs.
from the backcloth of the world
man believes he sees the backcloth of the world being
ajar through language, he is wrong: he takes for granted
that such a path towards the far-beyond is but the
queerness of his speech. He believes he catches sight of
another world whose riddle evidences this very world of
his. Thus does he erect his beliefs and churches with
what he should use to tumble them down.
language or religion at stake, God is but the name given
by men to this very pocket of both air and meaning
through which they speak and breathe, i.e. such an
ignorance and silence wherefrom both their thoughts and
words do surge.
digs the world through. It bites and chews, introducing
both at the same time meaning and negativity. If the task
of the Divine Word was to create things, the specific
task of human speech would rather be to deny them, i.e.
to let them flee away from that kind of inertia where
they had been left behind by the divine
the world is all cluttered up by things, when language
gathers up slogans and ready-made phrases, when hope no
longer finds paths along which to move forward, what
remains but human negativity aiming at fleeing from such
a suffocation? That which claims and resists, looks for
and questions and yet is never surfeited. Speech is the
hard core of what is specifically human, our grandiose
we to fancy some kind of powerful air pocket wherefrom a
strong resisting wind would blow.
exists through his capacity to postpone his knowledge, to
wait, to look for, not to know
Writing about such
a void, with it and within it, such is his ignorance,
capable as he is to survive on earth, achieve works of
art and become everyday attune though his incapacity both
to remain, to dwell and to tackle.
proceeds through division. First to try and attempt some
suture. Then in order to do battle with it. Over and over
again, digging the wound. Not in order to pin man to his
cross, but rather to let speech dance within its torn
stage, there's a latent crucifixion. One will see both
breath and blood of a such a speech blow: such is man's:
"here, in front of us all, speech, which is effusion of
human matter, does come in the fore". An effusion indeed,
not a romantic one of both the heart and its tears but of
blown language. A diffusion of language all the way
towards exhalation of breath, a spreading of every
possible drops of blood. Man come afore to die in front
of us by emptying himself of his own self. Here he goes
"through void, towards life and speed."
is the poet, looking alike that "Jesus crucified as a
child" which Novarina discovers in Piero della
Francesca's "Madonna amid angels and saints": i.e. a
celestial, airy body, falling on earth, figuring through
such a movement both its appearance and disappearance:
"he, who is just born and yet expires in front of our
eyes holds both beginning and end tied up within a large
breathing figure recapturing time as a whole".
very work is this breathing figure, such a fusion of
birth and disappearance within a single moment, both his
and his breath's, such a conjunction-disjunction where
nothing appears but to disappear at the same time and
voice such a dying out. Here, "both expiring and surging
belong to the same gesture". Such is the poem in making
and its combustion of language.
matter of hand
is both a matter of breath and hand. For "the hand is the
organ of language". It entails and claims
are, for example, two kinds of hand devices dealt with
and demanded by the poem: Both touch and handedness. The
touch may move, sensitises, palpates and caresses forms,
enables music, alters the heart beat and rhythm
Handedness is both the acutest touch and the extreme
firmness of the grip, the capacity of language to hold or
to keep. Where touch goes by, the grip remains. Where the
former flees, the latter keeps hold of you. What were the
former to be without the latter securing its
is indeed such a gesture over language aiming at
stressing its materiality, its visibility. One should act
in such a way as to incarnate all these very words which
we use everyday without really seeing them. In such a way
as to turn their moves into something perceptible, so
that such a human stuff they are made of would become
that very mixture which the painter works at on his
canvass? Doesn't that word refer both to the theatre and
to painting? Novarina's writing enables the page, the
canvass and the stage to come closer together: writing
joins together the poetic space, the stage and drama.
With language in motion, using it as a material, its
writing turns the stage into a super activity of the
poem: "The stage is where active poetry may surge and
show once again to men how the world is caught by
odd are our gestures, both multistage and sleep-walking,
every single one groping towards new substances, towards
new bodies, different from them he was to embrace, each
hiding new gestures towards something else. Almost as if
all that, in this world of ours, were but a pretext, an
optical illusion or a failure in perspective. In the
past, people used to call it but a dream.
words anything but the manifestation (evidence?
demonstration? cause? consequence?) of our distance to
things? That words should thus interpose themselves and
circulate between me and my self, between me and the
world, between the Other and myself, may indeed be the
stamp of such a defect on which existence rests, such an
ignorance and precarious balance which compels us forever
to be unwedged, now here, now elsewhere, always the same
and yet different, hanging over above, pending, slowly
turning into something else which we never become,
pushing our words, gestures and figures forwards into
time made of signs.