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Sådan svarer man igen på et afslag (som et bidrag)

I begejstringen over at kunne forhåndsbestille Lydia Davis’ Can’t and Won’t som e-bog kom jeg til også at bestille Johns Ashberys Collected French Translations forud, og nu er den også kommet, og heri finder man bl.a. en oversættelse af Amntonin Artauds korrespondance med Jacques  Rivière, der senere blev trykt i det litterære magasin, Rivière redigere i stedet for de digte, Artaud havde sendt ind (alle de nævnte navne er digternavne, to amerikanske og to franske); her er korrespondancens begyndelse:

May 1, 1923

I regret not being able to publish your poems in Nouvelle Revue Francaise. But I took enough interest in them to wish to make the acquaintance of their author. If it were possible to pass by the review one Friday, between four and six, I should be happy to see you.
Please accept, sir, the assurance of my sympathetic feelings.
Jacques Rivière

June 5, 1923

Will you, if it isn’t too much trouble, allow me to come back to several remarks of our conversation this afternoon.
It is because the question of the admissibility of these poems is a problem which concerns you as much as me. I am speaking, naturally, of their absolute admissibility, of their literary existence.
I suffer from a frightful illness of the mind. Myt thought abandons me at every level. from the simple fact of thought to the external fact of its materialization into words. Words, forms of phrases, inner directions of the mind, simple reactions of the mind – I am in constant pursuit of my intellectual being. Thus when I can seize a form, imperfect though it is, I pin it down in the fear of losing the thought. I do not myself justice, I know; I suffer from this, but I consent to it in the fear of not dying completely.
All this which is said very badly is in danger of bringing a formidable ambiguity into your judgement of me.
That is why out of respect for the central feeling which dictates these poems to me and for the images or strong figures of speech which I was able to find, I propose these poems for existence in spite of everything. I have felt and accepted these figures, these inopportune expressions for which you reproach me. Remember: I did not contest them. They stem from the profound uncertainty of my thought. Fortunate indeed when this uncertainty is not replaced by the absolute inexistence from which I suffer sometimes.
Here again I am afraid of ambiguity. I would like you really to understand that is is not a question of that more-or-less of existence which emerges from what is commonly called  inspiration, but of a total absence, a veritable extinction.
This is also why I told you that I had nothing, no work in progress; the few things I showed you constituting scraps that I was able to wrest from utter nothingness.
It is very important for me that the few manifestations of spiritual existence which I was able to give myself not be considered inexistent through the fault of the blots and unacceptable expressions scattered thorughout them.
It seemed to me as I showed them to you that their faults, their unevenness were not so glaring as to destroy the whole impression of each poem.
Please believe, sir, that I have no immediate or selfish end in view; I want only to settle a crucial problem.
For I cannot hope that time or work will remedy these obscurities or these weaknesses; that is why I demand this existence, aborted though it be, with so much insistence and disquiet. And the question to which I would like an answer is: Do you think that one can attribute less literary authenticity and power of action to a poem which is perfect but without much inner reverberation? I admit that a review like the Nouvelle Revue Francaise requires a certain formal level and a great purity of substance, but without this, is the body of my thought so confused and its general beauty rendered so ineffectual by the impurities and indecisions  scattered through it, that it doesn’t succeed literarily in existing? The whole problem of my thought is what is at stake. It is a question for me of nothing less than knowing whether or not I have the right to continue to think, in verse or in prose.
I shall permit myself one of these Fridays to offer you the little pamphlet of poems which Mr. Kahnweiler has just published and which is called Tric Trac du Ciel, as well as the little volume in the Contemporaries series: Les Douce Chansons. You will then be able to let me know your final opinions of my poems.

Antonin Artaud

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Forside og billedkunst i Hvedekorn 4 2018: Kirsten Justesen. Hvedekorn er støttet af Statens Kunstfond hvedekorn.dk af One Million Monkeys