Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yves Bonnefoy

For a while now I have admired the poetry of the French poet Yves Bonnefoy. What drew me to his work initially was simply his name. Browsing through a local bookstore, the name stood out. I sort of knew I would like the poetry I found - and I did.

Bonnefoy's best known book is his On the Motion and Immobility of Douve. It is a work that simply seeps with originally rendered sentiment and novel turns of phrase. It is the language itself of the work, rather than simply the images, that draw one on a journey of poetic and aesthetic pleasure. Bonnefoy manages to say something new in a way that echoes what has gone before - but only enough to let the familiarity we feel peek into the possibilities of what poetry can convey.

Bonnefoy has also written critical work, on such poets as Rimbaud and Baudelaire. Those familiar to this blog will recognise poets here that also captivate my attention. It doesn't surprise me that Bonnefoy has a special concern for these two, as his poetry reflects them (while going beyond them).

In his youth Bonnefoy study Philosophy, which interests me, as I am also a poet who studies Philosophy. Bonnefoy was to burn a thesis he wrote in Philosophy, perhaps not wanting history to be privy to his early theoretical work. But in his youthful interest in Philosophy, Bonnefoy shares in a great tradition, including T. S. Eliot and William Blake, of poets who at some time turned to Philosophy.

I look forward with great interest to what Bonnefoy creates in his future. It is a future that will in some way shape the progression of world literature to come.

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