Selections from the Writings of Bouvard Pécuchet
With rare exception, every major study of the Plagarist Movement includes passing reference to the writings of Bouvard Pécuchet. In A Brief History of the Plagiarist Movement, Whitler Pratphall, a leading authority on this movement to end movements, writes, “The work of Bouvard Pécuchet animates the abstract; he speaks to the cosmic in us.”
Bouvard first came to the public’s attention with the publication of The Plagarist Years: 1982-1986, which included poems such as:
I take endless journeys in russet light,
moving through a landscape of love again
without ever finding the wind source.
I am surround by a miracle of clouds.
My memory is as heavy as a clear winter,
and my heart is an azure tumult.
His talent won him a prominent place among the Plagarist writers of the San Francisco scene. He became friends with A.P. Orria, Roberta Soltea, and Isabel Reznimchemko, and he contributed to Big Mag.
There is a baroque humor in his works. Whether he writes about another author or forges an original creation, Pécuchet’s style is characteristically a self-characterization of itself, yet his irony instructs and his humor lightens the burden of our existence.
a foreward to David Bromige’s Indictable Suborners
David Bromige’s writing is rainfall in the silence. It is easy to mistake the dream for the real, the unsubstantial for the concrete, and the narrator in “Indictable Suborners” reminds me of Lycius in Keats’s “Lamia”:
His phantasy was lost, where reason fades,
In the calm’d twilight of Platonic shades.
Reading this poem is like joining Apollo and Dionysius on the soccer field. The poem, the story, enchants me on one level and alienates me on another. I am challenged to go beyond the actual, to lose all my plastic, to shed identity, and to get lost in a transcendent bog, where all is new, exquisite and bright. In a careful read I undergo a transformation, guided not only by the artist’s passion but by the cold philosophy of his sciential brain.
The poem’s narrative movement is geographical and autobiographical, but (Wittgenstein, be my Virgil) there is an inner architecture
background tower or arch or strut(.)
With mythic memory, the narrator moves from city to city, muttering in Nottingham, pissing in a doorway in Voorst, swatting mosquitoes in Rapperswill, trudging up Cricklewood Broadway, subliminally assembling a domain. He creates a world warmed by an inner sun. The material of the poem is an affirmation of love.
I took the poem with me on vacation. I was on Kauai, water breezes, land breezes, fragrant fern wind bringing a whiff of coconut oil from the sunbathers, daydreaming about the 15th century and the cult of lyric poetry, whose pretense is to escape social penetration.
Joan of Arc is cast out for, among other abominations, wearing men’s clothing, her judges are determined to get her to change, and she’s condemned in much the same way the Elder Bush condemned John Walker Lindh for wearing his hair long, saying, “I can think of no worse punishment than to bring him home and make him keep his hair like that.”—Overheard, waiting in a checkout line, “They don’t believe in God; they believe in Allah.”—Attorney General John Ascroft holds onto his face, doesn’t let his face slip—God has many faces, can his be one?
no’ia o kia’ a loko
Look for the life within
Kiei ka’ula nano i ka makaui
Peer towards Ka’ala, look at the wind
Ho’olono i ka halulu oka Maluakele (pa)
Heard is the roaring wind Maluakele
I watch an old man sweeping the sand with a metal detector, and I’m wondering if he’s found anything good, when he stops and stoops to sift for a dime. A boy in red trunks faces him, fascinated by the mystery of trickle-down economics.
And what does this have to do with Minoan civilization and the price of gasoline? I took “Indictable Suborners” to read on the beach. The poem begins: “And hands comb some one annual rainfall in the silence after laughter in Brandenburg.”
The narrator admits he communicates his needs without the independence, the clarity, the definiteness of logic, moving his emotional flotsam to Cedar Rapids, even though there are very few cedar to see. He follows the one, two, three of reality into an elysium of prelexical attention, hissing and blanching, as he sails andspells from Kakamari to Mogadouro. I found myself nodding in the half-flight, and I realized, here is more than a tint of manic expressionism, and I wondered if I could make it fully across his riverrun.
I reread the first line, “And hands comb some one annual rainfall in the silence after laughter in Brandenburg.” I placed my identical foot in the Heraclitian river and felt a tickle:
Sable arrested a fine comb.
Jack Spicer’s message finally penetrated—the letters growing like palm-trees in a cold wind.
Ua Hana’ ia ai pono a pololei
That which is done is true and correct
Ua haina’ia a kuno ‘ia ‘oe
That which is spoke stands before you
I laid “Indictable Suborners” aside and decided, I’ll make a cup of tea, put on sun screen and walk on broken legs
across a great civilization in decline, singing the songs of Spring
March 21, 2003