Monday poetry: today, “the world capsizes”

Why does Bernard Chambaz write so much? It is “Because I’m still alive”, he replied end of January on this subject on France Culture. Just a few months after his last novel, Another Eden, he publishes a collection of poems with a title as short as intriguing: And. His two previous works of poetry played the same score: they were titled Summer (two volumes, in 2005 then 2010) and etc. (2016).

And is in any case a continuation ofAnother Eden : like him, he seems to exist “To restore a semblance of life, of survival, to those whom we could call our missing”. In And, Bernard Chambaz pays tribute to the dead: his cousin Denis, the writer Mathieu Bénézet (“the elder brother”) or the slightly older deceased: Kerouac (who then infuses the language of Chambaz in a jazz bath) or even Nerval, romantic poet and suicide “That I would have liked to take in my arms”. The set, which also gives variations on the shape of the sonnet, is more solar than morbid, exploring both the author’s daily life and his intact intimacy with the missing.

Here is the third poem from “Exponential”, the second part of And.


pōnere: Latin verb
what do we deposit? it depends.
arms. life. sorrow.
paintings. your bra and then
the world capsizes.
olives in the sun. a crown on your head
a book as an offering or as
stake of a bet
lost in advance
if we bet on perpetual motion
step on a bridge to step over
the sea. mortals
in the ancestral boat that drops us off
to the ponant

Bernard Chambaz, And, Flammarion editions, 162 pages, 18 euros.

Guillaume Lecaplain