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Claude Mouchard: an answer to "what is poem"

By : InKunming | Published: 2013-10-28

Claude Mouchard, a French poet, gives a lecture on "what is poem" at the First National South-West Associated University International Literature Festival on October 23. (Photo/ Lynn)

What is a poem? The definition of a poem can not be concluded in an equation such as A+B=C. Different people can offer different answers. Claude Mouchard, a French poet, gave an answer to the question by his personnel experience in poetry writing in the First National South-West Associated University International Literature Festival on October 23.

Claude Mouchard, a professor from Universite de Paris 8 in France, said his ardent love towards poem derives from the 1940s when in his boyhood, at the age of 14 or 15. He got fed of the tedious life in Orleans, France, since the city during that time had no cultural life at all.

"Once, I went to a lecture about Henri Michaux. I had no idea who he was at that time, but got shocked about his poems. It is like a punch right on my head." Henri Michaux, later, became his leading reason to fall into love with poetry. Several years later, he was lucky enough to see Michaux and was given a book as a gift, about which Claude Mouchard is moved as of today.

Claude Mouchard said Henri Michaux was a veteran universe traveler. In the first fifty years of the twentieth centry, Michaux was fascinated about Chinese poem. Seen from his poems, his poems showed the trace of Chinese art.

He said a poem is like the footprints of a cat on the snow in winter. Each of the footprints is countable and can attract people’s notice.

When talking about Yu Jian, a local poet in Yunnan, Claude said that Yu has been his good friend. Reading Yu’s poem, he was possibly being profoundly cast away from the reality, like being swept up in a tornado. He said the feeling was not just in a certain moment or at a certain place, but a common feel for contemporary poets. “Anxious I am, I feel the anxiety a rolling people or an object in a tornado. When we are in a tornado, the only hope is to be drifted away with it.”

Claude Mouchard is also a translator and an essayist.

(Editors:Lynn, Tracy)

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