purity

Only the purity of the means leads to the purity of the artwork.

the image

The image is a pure creation of the mind. It is born not from a comparison but from a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities.

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The further apart and truer the relationship between two juxtaposed realities, the more powerful the image will be, the greater its emotional power and poetic reality.

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Two realities that have no relationship cannot be juxtaposed profitably. No image will be created. Nor will there be if two identical realities are compared.

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Two unrelated realities do not come together. They oppose one another, occasionally resulting in a brief surprise that can be seductive, though not a formed image.

One rarely obtains any power from such an opposition.

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An image is not powerful because it is violent or fantastic, but because the association of ideas is distant and true.

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The obtained result immediately verifies the correctness of the association.

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Analogy is one of the means of creation, it is an existence of relationships; yet the strength or weakness of the created image depends upon the nature of these relationships.

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It is not a question of creating an image, but that an image arrives on its own wings.

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If you over-establish an image, you will erect a massive pedestal instead of a svelte statue.

real events

A real event has an intensity that can never be equalled by an artwork that would like to imitate it or be its equivalent. Hence art must suggest another kind of emotion to our mind and to our taste. It is not worthy of art for it to be subordinated to material reality. For art to deserve attracting our mind, it must transport us beyond this reality. It is the nobility of the mind to give art its own reality. Thus in art the mind elevates, rises, and is elevated. If it is subordinated to nature and to matter, it is crushed.

lacking confidence

I don’t know of any other oeuvre that has inspired less confidence in its author than my own.

I will not defend it.

I accept that it can be nothing more than proof of my powerlessness.

the pleasure of work

I would like to be one of those who claim to love what they do, and derive pleasure from doing so, for, when I do love my work, I almost always suffer.

cubism

The public demands to be transported elsewhere by an artwork.

Yet, this art seeks to pin the reader’s or viewer’s mind to the artwork itself.

imagination

One must clearly distinguish between gratuitous dreaming and the fecund imagination that leads to an artwork.

When the imagination is guided by the will, it is no longer a dream, but an employment agency.

gilding

The dream is not solid gold, but only a gilding. The true substance of reality is underneath.

dreaming

Dream is a tunnel passing beneath reality. A sewer filled with clear water, but still a sewer.

form

I am not, however, seeking a form. I’m not sure that I would enjoy dressing myself up. If I knew of a readymade whole, I wouldn’t even have the courage to make the slightest effort to attain it. The poet must seek, everywhere including within himself, the true poetic substance, and this substance is what imposes on him the only form that is necessary. But, what interests me most about this problem is the similarity between poetic fate and human destiny. The uncertain and precarious march across the void, aspiring to the heights, drawn to the depths, with a barely contained fear of a nameless fall and  the always poorly secured hope of an end or of an eternal beginning in the dazzling, but indifferent, light.

those crystals left behind

If I thought while writing a poem like I am obliged to think (however feebly it might be) while writing an article, that poem would at least have a conclusion. Between its parts there would be connections subjected to the ordinary rules of logic. You would sense, however obscure it might be, my desire to tell someone something. Although it would be little more than: “This is proof that even uninspired I can compose a poem. I know beauty better than anyone.” I very much admire this kind of mastery, but I admire it with indifference. It is far from being my strength. And I appreciate the ideas of someone who is able to do such exercises much more than the exercises themselves.

The poet is, in a difficult and often perilous position, at the intersection of two planes with brutally sharp edges, the one of dream and the other of reality.

Imprisoned by appearances, in place in the world, although purely imaginary, in which the common lot is content, he overcomes all obstacles in order to attain the absolute and the real; there his spirit moves with ease. You must follow him there for, what is, is not this obscure, shy and despised body that you distractedly bump into on the sidewalk–that one will pass like the rest–but those poems, beyond the form of the book, those crystals left behind after the effervescent contact of the spirit with reality.

And the profound reality, the real, is what the spirit alone is able to grasp, to detach, to shape, all that comprises, in everything, matter, obeys its solicitation, accepts its domination, avoids, eludes the deceptive empire of the senses. Where the senses are, sovereign reality fades and disappears. Naturalism is an example of this submission to the sensible universe.

The result should be skipped over. For it is not a question of making something true; in art today’s truth is tomorrow’s falsity. That is why poets have never been concerned with the truth, but always with the real. Beware however, for everyone employs words, your task is to create with words what no one else does.

dreaming, thinking

I don’t think that dreaming is the strict opposite of thinking. What I do know inclines me to believe that it is, in sum, only a freer, more abandoned form.

Dream and thought are two sides of the same fabric–front and back–dream comprises the side where the weave is lusher but looser, thought the side where the weave is more austere but tighter.

When the imagination cools off, shrinks, defines and clarifies itself, the dream side turns over and lets the thought side appear. Yet both however have their own characteristics; they cannot be confused once you clearly distinguish them.

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In order to progress thought needs to take shape in words, dream develops in images. Dream spreads and does not demand any effort to develop. Without the aid of words, thought does not advance.

Disciplined, out of necessity, thought follows a course and requires, in order to expand, a tension, a concentration of all available intellectual forces.

But it returns what it borrows, it is the mind’s healthy exercise; dream, to the contrary, exhausts it, it is the mind’s dangerous exercise.

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The power of dream is innate out of necessity; whereas one must educate and strengthen that of thought.

But, if it is a question of poetry, where shall we go to find its precious, rare material if not to the dizzying edge of the precipice?

What is of more interest, the success of a conventional arrangement, more or less subtle and ingenius, of words, or the profound, mysterious echoes, from who knows where, which stir in the depths of the abyss?

The poet’s dream is the immense, finely meshed net hopelessly dragging through the waters’ depths in search of a problematic treasure.

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Yet what characterizes thought is that it requires a (logical) sequence and that it always demands, for its own satisfaction, a conclusion. If I treat it the same as a dream, instead of prospering, like dreams, it gets bogged down, comes to a halt, and dies.

an eminently terrestrial thing

I have never had to save my pen, it has saved me.

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A book’s success these days: a bird soaring one moment, then falling to disappear among the grass the next.

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Someone said, “What influences us is what we love. What we take from others is what resembles us and thus already belongs to us.”
Hence in part it feeds the fire, but sometimes the fire would like to consume everything.

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Art is an eminently terrestrial thing.

romanticism

It is difficult for an artist to live without romanticism; if he doesn’t put it into his art, he puts it into his life; if he doesn’t put it into his life, he keeps it in his dreams. All that we fictitiously draw from cold reality is tainted with romanticism.

So one must choose between the dullness and vulgarity of a sentimental sensual life and a full heroic religion, or else slip into the dupery of dreams. Resembling a pitiful screen enclosing a single glimmer of a nonexistent jewel. Often the glimmer itself dies and then the screen only appears all the more pathetic.

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Someone wanted to kill romanticism. He had a hard life, he needed to kill it.

But it came back under all kinds of other names and even in primitive naturalism.

Upon getting rid of romanticism one generally falls into a miserable apathy.

So, what one must do, which is very simple but extremely difficult, is to focus on the lyricism of reality. And to that art should limit its role, being unable to compete with reality but up to the task of capturing its lyricism, which artists alone are able to do. From this the following definition could be drawn: art is the collection of means used to capture the moving and touching lyricism of reality.

a tiny diamond

What a horrible experience to suffer again and again.

Sitting down to write the most beautiful poem in the world, feeling it inside of you, living it, struggling to contain the trembling beauty that overflows and transforms your entire being, elevating it, then… sitting there with just this bit of ice between your fingers or this ash!

Everything else has been consumed within. Outside, there is only the flames’ reflection. For the poet is an oven in which to burn up reality.

From all the raw emotion that one receives, sometimes a tiny diamond emerges with an incomparable clarity and brightness. An entire life reduced to a few images and phrases.

what a man says, what a man does

One must consider not what a man says, but what he does. Not what an artist claims he wanted to do, but what he has done. It’s quite embarrassing how many things prevent them from clearly seeing what is. The complications of their minds obscure their senses. They seek in a work what isn’t there but should be, and forget to focus on what is. In art, how rarely one finds those few who have the ability to decisively love or reject. To love is to unite; to hate is to separate, and that is what one simply forgets to do when making decisions.

criticism

A review can be critical, but kind. In fact it should always be. It is all the kinder for being critical. Because it is for the author’s benefit that someone desires to tell him what is wrong with his work.

Any author who gets annoyed by a review that provides such is not worthy of the name. While a critic who is able to provide such a critique is worthy of our love. For he fulfills, with the greatest liberty, the duty of one’s best friend.

I am well aware that self-satisfaction blinds authors, that pride and pretentiousness twist their minds. But, from time to time, one can be found who is strong enough and close enough to reality to always agree with those who criticize him, and only rarely with those who praise him.

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A work is not worthwhile due to the amount of conscience that its author has brought to it. Conscience alone cannot save a work of art, but a lack of conscience is the loss of a critic and of a critique.

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Without the strength of judgment and assurance provided by conscience, one must depend, to make decisions, on one’s conceit and pretentiousness. Then instead of a thorough and fair critic, one will have a rather foolish conceited one.

plagiarism

Our admiration for poetry diminishes if we despise too many poets. For poetry is written by poets. And those who claim to love poetry are often only capable of plagiarizing this or that poet.

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A little tact causes promiscuity to flee. What binds us to another must be sacrificed. We must however patiently tolerate those parasites that no degree of hygiene can eliminate.

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Of course, all artists of note are already influenced or susceptible to being so, even the greatest. Influenced by what they love and even, in reaction, by what they detest. But, between conscious influences, which are acceptable as they depend on the free and fatal play of our faculties, and plagiarism, the difference is as vast as between expanding one’s knowledge by reading a book and stealing a book from someone’s personal library in order to sell it. Thus, influence appears to depend upon the artist’s temperament and plagiarism upon an individual’s incivility. The one involves talent alone, the other integrity.

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Conceited are those who never admit what they owe to others and blind those who do not see what they have taken from others.  It is necessary to acknowledge that we, ourselves, owe others and should only complain about blatant theft. Though a debt must be repaid, rarely does a thief have the will or ability to do so.

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Plagiarism occurs when uninspired; influence happens unconsciously, by channeling, it is not dishonest.

nature is nature, not poetry

Nature is nature, not poetry. It is the reaction of nature upon the disposition of certain individuals that produces poetry. The fruits that nature provides are not those of an orchestra.

simplicity

Between a so-called beautiful calendar and a masterpiece of simplicity a peasant would not hesitate. He would pick the calendar. Everything complicated seems richer and dazzles him. Simplicity and restraint address more developed minds, minds that can distinguish these qualities from poverty, which, in its turn, needs even more highly developed minds in order to understand and love it.

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Nature is complicated. Such a tangle of lines, forms and colours.
And yet, as it is true, it corresponds to the simplicity of the spirit.

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Today artists are richer and art poorer than ever before: asceticism has been turned inside-out.