Thursday, December 02, 2004

meant to write about a bit of shock I had upon learning the death of French poet Christophe Tarkos. C. Bernstein posted the announcement here today. Tarkos was only 40. but I spent my evening scouring the net for snatches of his performances. Tarkos is one of several younger poets who invigorated performance poetry in France. I'm not an expert at all on Tarkos et al. however, I've been grappling with his work upon first discovering him in The Germ. what I find cold on the page is energized in the performing of the work. it is funny and often wonderful. of course what two cents of french I had depreciated to near nothing. nevertheless, one does not need to understand every bit of the language to enjoy its textures and sounds. but reading it I find is sometimes a chore. however, this evening I reread his libretto hurt published in Ma Langue est Poetique -- Selected Work (Roof Books 2000) and liked it immensely. the text is for three voices: voice 1, voice 2 and narrator, and it displays many of the qualities found in Tarkos's writing: emphasis on sound, repetition, enjambed phrases etc. etc. here is a piece of it.

voice 1

i don't hurt anymore, i don't hurt, suffering doesn't hurt anymore, suffering is with me, i don't want to get rid of it anymore, i don't see why i would get rid of it, i live with the hurt, i am the hurt, i'm not too worn out, i'm holding on, i'll be the one who has the hurt inside

(translated by Stacy Doris)

we are poorer by the absence of Tarkos.


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