Jim Jarmusch

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If you go into a bar in most places in America and even say the word poetry, you’ll probably get beaten up. But poetry is a really strong, beautiful form to me, and a lot of innovation in language comes from poetry.

Poets are always ahead of things in a certain way, their sense of language and their vision.

I think of poets as outlaw visionaries in a way.

René Char, Bandeau de Fureur et mystère, 1948

Le poète, on le sait, mêle le manque et l’excès, le but et le passé. D’où l’insolvabilité de son poème. Il est dans la malédiction, c’est-à-dire qu’il assume de perpétuels et renaissants périls, autant qu’il refuse, les yeux ouverts, ce que d’autres acceptent, les yeux fermés: le profit d’être poète. Il ne saurait exister de poème sans appréhension pas plus qu’il n’existe de poèmes sans provocation. Le poète passe par tous les degrés solitaires d’une gloire collective dont il est, de bonne guerre, exclu. C’est la condition pour sentir et dire juste.

Nicholas Ray

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Nicholas Ray was a director and he wore an eyepatch. He was one of the most important and artistic directors in Hollywood’s lull of the 50s. A favourite of Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, an idol and mentor of Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch, many of his films had a massive impact on our conception of 50s cool, such as Knock On Any Door and Rebel Without a Cause. His pictures In A Lonely Place and Knock On Any Door were major components of Humphrey Bogart’s cult following in the 50s and 60s. His Rebel Without A Cause is arguably the most important James Dean film. Others, Johnny Guitar in particular, were a really big deal in France. Speaking of Johnny Guitar, it, The Searchers and Rio Bravo are basically the only truly important 50s westerns.

A consistent and open user of illicit drugs, he was shunned by Hollywood in the early 60s. His career went off the rails in many ways, but after a 10 year hiatus, in the early 70s he began the most experimental part of his career. He began the experimental film “We Can’t Go Home Again” with his students (he taught filmmaking at Binghamton Uni, NY) in 1973, and made the documentary Lightning Over Water with Wim Wenders. He continued to edit We Can’t Go Home Again until his death in 1979.

“There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray.”

—Jean-Luc Godard, 1958.

The Lover Tells of the Rose in His Heart

ALL things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and old,
The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart,
The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry mould,
Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.

The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,
With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.

william butler yeats

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

— Edgar Allan Poe, A Dream Within a Dream

Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

“ What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music…. And people flock around the poet and say: ‘Sing again soon’ – that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful.

Baudelaire: Le Thyrse (à Franz Liszt)

32. Le Thyrse

À Franz Liszt

    Qu’est-ce qu’un thyrse?  Selon le sens moral et poétique, c’est un emblème sacerdotal dans la main des prêtres ou prêtresses célébrant la divinité dont ils sont les interprètes et les serviteurs.  Mais physiquement ce n’est qu’un bâton, un pur bâton, perche à houblon, tuteur de vigne, sec, dur et droit.  Autour de ce bâton, dans des méandres capricieux, se jouent et folâtrent des tiges et des fleurs, celles-ci sinueuses et fuyardes, celles-là penchées comme des cloches ou des coupes renversées.  Et une gloire étonnante jaillit de cette complexité de lignes et de couleurs, tendres ou éclatantes.  Ne dirait-on pas que la ligne courbe et la spirale font leur cour à la ligne droite et dansent autour dans une muette adoration?  Ne dirait-on pas que toutes ces corolles délicates, tous ces calices, explosions de senteurs et de couleurs, exécutent un mystique fandango autour du bâton hiératique?  Et quel est, cependant, le mortel imprudent qui osera décider si les fleurs et les pampres ont été faits pour le bâton, ou si le bâton n’est que le prétexte pour montrer la beauté des pampres et des fleurs?  Le thyrse est la représentation de votre étonnante dualité, maître puissant et vénéré, cher Bacchant de la Beauté mystérieuse et passionnée.  Jamais nymphe exaspérée par l’invincible Bacchus ne secoua son thyrse sur les têtes de ses compagnes affolées avec autant d’énergie et de caprice que vous agitez votre génie sur les c�urs de vos frères. — Le bâton, c’est votre volonté, droite, ferme et inébranlable; les fleurs, c’est la promenade de votre fantaisie autour de votre volonté; c’est l’élément féminin exécutant autour du mâle ses prestigieuses pirouettes.  Ligne droite et ligne arabesque, intention et expression, roideur de la volonté, sinuosité du verbe, unité du but, variété des moyens, amalgame tout-puissant et indivisible du génie, quel analyste aura le détestable courage de vous diviser et de vous séparer?

    Cher Liszt, à travers les brumes, par delà les fleuves, par-dessus les villes où les pianos chantent votre gloire, où l’imprimerie traduit votre sagesse, en quelque lieu que vous soyez, dans les splendeurs de la ville éternelle ou dans les brumes des pays rêveurs que console Cambrinus, improvisant des chants de délectation ou d’ineffable douleur, ou confiant au papier vos méditations abstruses, chantre de la Volupté et de l’Angoisse éternelles, philosophe, poëte et artiste, je vous salue en l’immortalité!


32. The Thyrsus

For Franz Liszt

    What is a thyrsus?  According to the moral and poetic definition, it is a sacerdotal symbol in the hands of priests or priestesses celebrating the divinity of which they are the interpreters and the servants.  But physically it is only a baton, a pure baton, a hop-pole, a vine-stake, dry, hard, and straight.  Around this baton, in capricious meanderings, play and frolic vine-stems and flowers, the first sinuous and fugitive, the second bent over like bells or like overturned goblets.  And an astonishing glory leaps from that complexity of lines and of colors, whether tender or showy.  Might one not say that the curved line and the spiral court the straight line and dance around it in mute adoration?  Might one not say that all of these delicate corollas, all of these calyxes, explosions of scent and of color, perform a mystical fandango around the hieratic baton?  And yet, who is the foolhardy mortal who would dare to determine whether the flowers and the vine-branches were made for the baton, or if the baton is only the pretext for displaying the beauty of the vine-branches and the flowers?  The thyrsus is the representation of your astonishing duality, powerful and venerated master, dear Bacchant of mysterious and passionate Beauty.  Never did a nymph inflamed by invincible Bacchus shake her thyrsus over the heads of her maddened companions with as much energy and capriciousness as you agitate your genius over the hearts of your brothers. — The baton is your will, straight, firm, and unshakeable; the flowers are your fancy promenading around your will; it is the feminine element executing around the male its marvelous pirouettes.  Straight line and arabesque line, intention and expression, rigidity of the will, sinuosity of the word, unity of the end, variety of the means, all-powerful and indivisible amalgam of genius, what analyst would have the detestable courage to divide you and to separate you?

    Dear Liszt, through the mists, beyond the rivers, over the cities where the pianos sing your glory, where the printer conveys your wisdom, wherever you are, in the splendors of the eternal city or in the mists of the dreamy lands that console Cambrinus, improvising songs of delectation or of ineffable sorrow, or confiding to paper your abstruse meditations, bard of eternal Delight and Anguish, philosopher, poet, and artist, I salute you in immortality!

 

Prose poem in Le Spleen de Paris, ed. posth. 1869