Category Archives: Apollinaire, Guillaume

RMSYL 39: Le Pont Mirabeau by Guillaume Apollinaire (read by Anouche Sherman)

The machine, the industry that is culture works predominantly with and in the “now”. The official ethos is a warm, mindfully glowing “Be Here Now”. But what that really translates into is “BUY THIS NOW!”. Fair enough. Literature is a kind of sustenance that doesn’t adhere to the same rules as other forms of nourishment. I can no longer be nourished by the food I ate last week, but I can be just as nourished, perhaps even more so by re-reading a book I bought ten years ago. This is not good news for publisher, or writers churning out their Next Big Thing. But it is good news for us readers as long as we can ignore 93.2% of everything we are “fed” by Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. This is another reason why I love getting together with people to hear them read me something they love. It is hardly ever the most recent thing they’ve read. Deep abiding affection and esteem (love?) takes time to bed in. Even though this poem, particularly for the French, is familiar enough to no doubt have bred contempt for some, it is still probably a more interesting poem than 93.2% of anything written in the last month or so. Our conversation felt “new” too. And so it was. For never has this poem been passed consecutively through these pairs of eyes and ears (Anouche’s and mine), and talked about in the way we did. Even the poem itself has never read entirely this way as Anouche provided her own translation of this classic “pont”. Perfect listening for a rainy, autumnal day.

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