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Chedid's Creative Process
-VII- (First Version)

 

L'homme 
Touche le sol 
Avant d'y prendre route 
Tâtonne 
Interroge 
Les silences et le bruit 
Avant sa marche oblique 
Vers l'enigme 
Leur fureur 
Leur bienfait 
Man
Touches the earth
Before going on his way
Gropes
Questions
Silences and noise
Before his oblique march
Toward the enigma of things
Their fury
Their goodness

The first version of this poem, ten lines without stanzas, is handwritten with strong black strokes made with a black felt-tip pen and dated "17/1/94" (17 January 94).  Chedid once remarked to me that she preferred the bold strokes produced by writing with a black felt-tip pen.  By way of explanation, she recalled her penmanship classes at boarding school, and how she dreaded being forced to write with an ink pen that created thin lines. 
            The main feature about the structure of the first version of this poem, is its brevity or compression.  Compression abbreviates language resulting in ambiguity which in turn, leads to multiplicity of meaning in a poem.  Through these ambiguities that appear as "gaps in meaning," differences between the language of poetry and prose become apparent.  Chedid uses this kind of compression or parataxis to mimic "spoken language," which tends to be disjunctive and to rely on sentence fragments.  Successive short sentences or nominal phrases increase the movement in a poem (to read more about what I call Chedid's "visual rhythm" and specific information on Chedid's works of poetry please see my dissertation:  "The Persistence of Vision in Andrée Chedid's Poetry," Washington University, 2000) and this juxtaposition of words further increases multiplicity of meaning.

Click here to see title page.
Click here to see original document.
 
FOUR VERSIONS OF A POEM, L’HOMME OR VII First Version Second Version Third Version Fourth and Final Version
 
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