Two Books by Emmanuel Hocquard
Two people (Kathleen Peirce and Rosetta Ballew, to be exact) suggested the same thing to me at the same time, that I should read something by Hocquard. One must take such things as signs.
Now I’ve read the two books I could get hold of:
Theory of Tables (trans. Michael Palmer)1992 0-blek editions
A Test of Solitude (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop) 2000 Burning Deck
Here are a few poems to give you a bit of the flavor. The way he bends the lyric, the way he moves from fracture to the colloquial remind me very much of the work of his two translators (and then I see that he’s translated Palmer). Affinities abound.
from Theory of Tables
Brown, green & black
Don’t say the fragments of glass are the words
or are like the words of the poem
Dear B., forget the words
don’t count the years
Don’t think you’re holding in your hand
the pieces of the poem, time
Don’t write that color contains history
These pebbles don’t say Aegean Sea
These shards aren’t syllables
these envelopes don’t contain letters
Don’t dream that you suffocate each night
Who and what
who is he and who is she?
Evening Jo, put down the revolver
here’s your key
how did you find me?
yesterday this neighborhood still didn’t exist
The sky is full of glass
start a cypress fire with crates
Neither music nor dance
the wave is minus a domino
cry out the gulls
She says I wish I were a nasturtium or a peony
When the wave is minus a goat
cry out the gulls
a trail of stones and clouds flanks the puddles
You say I and you say
who does what?
Two statues have removed their coat
Why have those two verdigris brothers
so long dead
been invited to dinner?
You say things are always
orderly in photographs
You dream you are crossing a field of solid water
Detach two sheets of paper
you and another you
this road neither rises nor descends
Come in, welcome
go join those talking in the other room
pink light across the large curve
from A Test of Solitude
Viviane or the secret list.
No sentence is any help.
The Wittgenstein list or by-path.
No sentence allows us to go from the canale to
the burnt stump, but a by-path.
Viviane is Viviane has found its place on the list
of secrets for me.
Or Theory of Secrets.
We said we named things to show what
Phrasing shows how to reunite them.
A class photograph is not a sentence is this list
this story without beginning or end this snap-
Only uncertain propositions should be attributed.
One proper name per uncertainty.
What sense would it have to sign a tautology?
Viviane is Viviane signed Emmanuel Hocquard
would be really insane.
But it can also furnish information of the type
on the label there is written: “Gift of E.H. to
The black list of ravens arranged by increasing
or decreasing size in the cases of the Museum of
the cultivation of labels in the Botanical garden
the list of errands and museums . . .
The fifth façade would
have the form of drained off.
The list of ponds how they communicate by
water or eyes.
Putting the pieces end to end
one would get neither a sentence.
Like the moles from one point to another
a list separates the canale from the burnt stump.
The list of obstacles
or list of names
of the permanent objects.
The unprogrammed spaces having devolved
on the dream,
put off doing something.