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from Poemes Mechaniques
Piere & Ilse Garnier
Paris: Andre Silvaire, 1965

Related Resources on UbuWeb:
Postition I of the International Movement (1963) by Pierre Garnier

ACTIVE LIGHT CIRCULATES IN THE POEM. Participates in the creation. Intervention of thickness and volume.

The linguistic particles depose themselves. Apparition of geology's strata and concretions.

Moments. Movements.

Presence in value of signs. Sensibilization of the page. Impressions of speed, of perspectives. Our times: the substance, force, mobility of signs. Along the highway, the street, among us they direct us. The world of conditional reflexes, of slogans, of images - dispensing the need for talking, for thinking.

But signs may also beckon us. Beyond the noise and chatter which polarizes us, they may be a vast silence where the word is born.

Among these signs - l e t t e r s.

LOOK AT THEM liberated from their words, geometric, ordered or chaotic, scintillating or colourless on the page. But their force? It's as if barely the faintest echo comes forth.

Are they on the point of dying. Are these the last sparks, embers of their life? They hardly move in their blank, their grey, their white. Nonetheless a music is born of the page, something distant, almost lost.

Against the concentration - slogans, ads, words - the Poemes Mechaniques oppose an affective spatialization.

The old poetry was founded on the conditioned reflex; the semantic used by the poet brought about the equivocation between the word and the thing: at the word "sun," the reader "saw" the sun; he reacted as Pavlov's dog; to the tinkle of the sonnet he salivated.

The poemes mechaniques bypass the reflexes: the variation of the letters within the poems calls forth variations in the person at his [sic] deepest levels of being.

The energy alone is grasped by these elementaries. Suddenly the letters become galaxies. Apparition of currents, turbulences, gentle breathing.

Jazz for the eyes.

Microstructures. The letters tinkle and set up vibrations within the pathways of the mind.

The words introduced become soft breaths. The whistling sounds, the rolling sounds, the r's marching along, the turbulent l's, the screaming i's, twist and run over the page. diluted semantics. rhythms, cadences, impulsions.

This poetry addresses itself not to the intellect but to the sensibilities.

For each letter is at the same time a line and a sound. And each letter inscribes its sound on the page. Visual and acoustic vibration: we hear these letters . . . through the eye - and the music organizes itself in the unconscious. The page finally sings.

Letters visible and ringing and legible - centuries - turning, muttering, converging, intensifying. Sensory poetry born of the meeting of the most remote pulsations, and the simplest and richest elements.

Expression of our energy.

Surfaces where from page to page, from intensity to intensity, from sign to sign made rhythmical by their form and their force, the dances and the dreams of the microstructure are played out endlessly.

Do these closed letters then rest only in themselves?

No. They are strong and active. Living cells, creative of the tongue - visuals climaxing in sonorities - the static becoming dynamic - parts of a point, then carried by the voice, volume, infinite vibrations.

Journeying ceaselessly, again and again, from the rational level to the level of pure sound.

Movement which ennobles us.

From the meetings of the letters appear unexpected figures which seized the occasion of the poem to form themselves

universal matter in movement

which, not yet semantic, awaits its signification

and maintains, on the page, a field of tension.

The directions are indicated, the syntax is born from the position of the elements, the monumental is not abolished, nor les rouages [the moving cogs as in a watch], nor the montages, nor the rhythms, nor the thin semantics retained by the letters: it is beyond doubt a poem.

An event invades the paper. An adventure gives birth to itself. Gropes, verifies, continues its way along the edges of language. Space pushed back The relationships which we entertained, thanks to language, are broken. From experience to experience we seek to place ourselves.

(Trans. bpNichol, M. Roy, and Larry Richards)