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

L'homme

Man

Tâte le sol

Tests the ground

Avant d'y prendre racine

Before taking root

             #

 

Puis il entreprend

Then he undertakes

Sa marche oblique

His oblique march

Vers l'enigme des choses

Toward the enigma of things

Entre silence

Between silence

Et bruits.

And noise.

           The third version of this poem appears much like the second.  It is typed (computer) with corrections made with a black felt-tip pen.  What is new is that after making her corrections, Chedid has written the entire poem by hand just below the typewritten one for easier reading.  There are other additions to the left of the typewritten poem, using a light green felt-tip pen (Chedid once explained her choice of colored felt-tip pens to edit her work:  "I correct with multi-colored felt pens.  I like to pour rainbows over darkness" (Territoires du souffle 143).  She also told me (August 1999) that her choice of color to correct her text was completely arbitrary and spontaneous.  She did not follow any particular system.)
            Here, Chedid distinguishes her third attempt by placing a "handwritten" illustration to the right of the typed text to delineate the typographical lay-out of the poem.  Chedid often sketches by hand the design she has in mind for the appearance of the text on the page.  The lines of the text are enumerated to the left of each line.

Deletions of the previous fourth and fifth line:

"Tâtonne" and "Interroge" results in a new total of eight lines. 

Middle of page: 

A handwritten symbol in blue, "#" signifies "more space."

Fourth line: 

"Puis entreprend" replaces "avant" in the second version.

Fifth line: 

Chedid capitalizes the letter "s" of "Sa marche" by hand; "Sa  marche oblique" is the new fifth line.

Seventh and Eighth lines: 

"leur fureur" and "leur bienfait" are replaced by two nouns previously deleted in the sixth line which reappear: "silence" and "bruits."

Seventh line: 

The preposition, "entre" [between] is a new addition; "silence" appears as a singular noun without any definite article; as a preposition of place, "entre," a new deictic element to the text, denotes an unspecified space "between
silence and sounds."

Final eighth line:

The noun, "bruit" [sounds] in its plural form becomes the second part of this prepositional phrase "Entre silence/et bruits."  After "bruits" a final period is made by hand.  Since this poem, "L'Homme" or "VII" is the last poem entitled "Territoires du silence," (Par delà les mots 146), it will end with a final period to signal completion.  (The previous six poems and introductory poem to this section do not end with periods.)

Below the corrected third version: 

Chedid writes the entire poem by hand to define the poetic form more clearly:  three lines are separated by the symbol, "#," followed by five more lines.

New discovery: 

In the fourth line, the pronoun, "il," absent from the corrected third version is added:  "Puis il entreprend."

*Note of interest: 

Chedid has created her own personal sign of completion or "stamp of approval." It is a handwritten mark that appears to be the letter, "Z," the final letter of the Latin alphabet. Chedid usually makes this mark at the end of a poem to indicate a final version. This personal sign has been useful to me in the determination of a final version as her manuscripts are not always found in the proper order. This mark is not found on the page of this final version here, but can be found on the title page of the first version, under the main title, "Territoires du silence."

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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