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196 words about Poetics of Work
Weed, bananas, coffee, commerce, character
Here lies Bachelard's meditations on architecture as written by Holden Caulfield and instead of architecture, it's poetry's role in contemporary capitalism-driven living, a.k.a. the "fucking farce" considered under the merciless eye of an overbearing father, who seems to do just as little as the jobless protagonist, and amid the ambient upheaval coursing through Lyon's streets between the 2016 Paris and Nice attacks. It takes a bit to realize that once you get past the lingering marijuana haze, bananas and coffee, absent mother and Victor Klemperer's book about Nazi linguistics, the only real work being done is by, well, Noémi Lefebvre (and, for English readers, translator Sophie Lewis). It wasn't a tall enough order to analyze poetry as product; Lefebvre also went and made the narrator genderless, an Oulipian trick difficult to get away with in highly gendered French. What Lefebvre's character shares with Anne Garréta's in Sphinx is a detached affect, a penchant for aimless travel, a yearning for purpose. Both of these writers are too smart not to use them as canvases for larger ideas. One takeaway question, then: What's the point of poetry? Another: Who's controlling this character's voice, the writer or the constraint?