“The Garden under the snow”, by Jean-Michel Maulpoix: after the black sadness of the cold season

“Meules, effect of snow, in the morning” (1891), by Claude Monet.

“Le Jardin sous la neige”, by Jean-Michel Maulpoix, Mercure de France, 128 p., €16, digital €12.

The Voice of Orpheus was, in 1989, the title of a critical essay by Jean-Michel Maulpoix, republished under the title lyricism (Corti, 2000). She is again summoned in her latest collection: “To see more clearly in the night, one would have to go down, like the other, the first poet, the singer armed with his lyre, go down once, only once, with the words, to the dead”he writes in The Garden under the snow, last volume of a trilogy haunted by the anguish of disappearance, which even the voice of Orpheus cannot ward off. Rewarded by the Goncourt of poetry at the publication of the collection flower street (Mercure de France, 2022), the work of Maulpoix, entirely magnetized by poetry, includes many critical texts – fromHenri Michaux, stowaway (Champ Vallon, 1984) at poet’s anatomy (Corti, 2020). And, since 1978, more than thirty personal collections, oscillating between poetry and poetic prose.

The desire for elsewhere

Books, ofA story of blue (1992) at Sky Instinct (Mercure de France, 2000), often bright. ” Eight years distance, noted the poet Antoine Emaz, the two titles echo each other in their questioning of the blue, the blues, facing the immense sea or sky. » A work full of drive, driven by the desire for elsewhere, where melancholy nevertheless has its part. Thus, in Farewell to the poem (Corti, 2005), we already found this portrait: “Poet: the one whom nothing and no one can console for dying and whom the knowledge of the disappearance leads to feverishly seizing language to keep there memory of what is being erased, as well as to spin there at open grave on the roads of time. »

A rupture occurred for Jean-Michel Maulpoix (born in 1952) with the death of his parents. A caesura, violent as a wing stroke, is at the origin of Red Swallow (2017), a very moving book of mourning, with the title and intense colors inspired by a painting by Miro, Swallow Love (1934). This splendid poetic tomb mirrored nine sections, each composed of nine short proses. In their center, Black Heart, a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke.

Waiting for the “re-greening”

Preceded by The day comes (2020), The garden under the snow ends today this bereaved trilogy. Its structure is identical to that of Red Swallow : eighty-one short proses retrace a “journey”. After the dark sadness of the cold season, the expectation of renewal is sketched out, which in the lyric poetry of the Middle Ages was called a “re-greening”. It’s no more “outburst” of yesteryear: “Unexpected, this sudden resumption of breath in the sunlight. (…) The color of the ink however does not change; there is always so much night left. But the pain has eased, by dint of telling oneself and telling oneself again. »

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