Listening for Blanchot


In this essay, I try to account for the impression I sometimes have while reading certain contemporary French poets to whom I’ve turned in an effort to depart the world of Blanchot. It is the impression that I hear his voice. By “Blanchot’s voice” I mean a specific intonation: the accent, if you will, that distinguishes indifference. This accent is no one’s special distinction—this tone belongs exclusively to none. So, my ear is peeled for what I do not hear: for a sound escaping me, which proves to be how this secret sound (this confidential message) arrives. Emmanuel Hocquard thought the whole point of poetry is to see something: to see what one does not see. He is the principal poet I seek to respond to here. Anne Portugal is another; I refer to Anne-Marie Albiach and Claude Royet-Journoud fleetingly.

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