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1913 __ « Lundi rue Christine »
Guillaume Apollinaire (Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary de Wąż-Kostrowicki) (1880-1918)
Comment : The poets liked hoaxes and spoofs, parodies and strange juxtapositions, pseudotranslations and collages. On the ground that the rules of all verse forms are at base arbitrary, they created ad hoc forms (requiring, say, an anagram or the name of a river in every line) and unconventional self-assignments ("translate a poem from a language you do not understand; do not use a glossary or dictionary"). They adapted the Cubist collage and the Surrealist "exquisite corpse" (a one-line poem composed by a group of poets, each of whom contributes a word without knowing what the others have written). Apollinaire's café poems, "Les Fenêtres" and "Lundi rue Christine," taught them that a poem could originate in snatches of overheard conversations. You could cull lines at random from books. Or you could scramble the lines in an already written poem to produce a disjunctive jolt. Many works would be improved if you simply deleted every second word. Poems didn't have to make sense in a conventional way; they could discover their sense as they went along. The logic of a dream or a word game was as valid as that of empirical science as a means of arriving at poetic knowledge. (David Lehman)["Arbre" and "Lundi Rue Christine" which appear in that order in "Ondes"] share an apporach to composition that undermines any sharply delineated authorial presence, and they allow stimuli from diverse sources to invade the page in an artifical, purposeful lack of direction. The fiction of 'conversation' is also exploited by both poems. In "Lundi Rue Christine" it takes the from of an artificially direct recording of casual remarks or items of intense exchange taken out of context, whereas in "Arbre" it is more discreet, and is restricted tp the interplay of the pronouns 'je' and 'tu'. This can be read as one of the elements that separates the two poems. "Lundi Rue Christine" adopts a fiction of a mobile perceptual awareness, by which events are being observed and events-in-perception recorded. While "Arbre" takes us onto the level of events-in-memory, and delves into 'the nature of the remembering mind', as Greet and Lockerbie put it, "Lundi Rue Christine" allows the eye of perception to be pointed outwards, and directed at objects or events in perception. (Timothy Matthews).“When thinking of "ambient" and literature I immediately think of Mallarme's “Un Coup de Dés ...” a poem built on intertwining layers of associations that stem from the disconnection (dispersion) of the words in the text. The effect of this poem lies in immersing yourself simultaneously in multiple layers of meaning (being)... ambient indeed. Follow this with Appolinaire's "conversation poem" Lundi Rue Christine, which is essentially the literary equivalent of field recording, and you have a nice early 20th century (literary) introduction to microsound. (Patrick Murphy, Microsound mailing-list)
French comment : Week End de Walter Ruttmann était annoncé, entre autres, par un poème d'Apollinaire, l'un de ceux qu'il nomme "poèmes-conversation" et qui est un collage de moments captés dans la ville. Le plus clair d'entre eux est peut-être "Lundi rue Christine", publié dans "Les Soirées de Paris" en décembre 1913. Il mélange, dans un désordre pourtant très contraint par des jeux prosodiques, des bribes de phrasess happées lors d'une réunion dans un café avec des amis. En connaître la circonstance - un ami, Jacques Dyssord, s'apprête à partir pour Tunis - permet de mieux comprendre la sensation de simultanéité qui ressort de ces croisements de conversation. La captation du réel, même sans la condition d'une technologie du sonore, est bien un figure de l'imaginaire du poère, l'ine de celles qui ouvriront la voie à l'emploi du phonographe, comme, quelques années plus tard, dans les tentatives d'un Tziga Vertov.". (Marc Battier)
Original excerpt 1 : « Lundi Rue Christine.La mère de la concierge et la concierge laisseront tout passer / Si tu es un homme ti m'accompagneras ce soir / Il suffirait que l'autre monterait.Trois becs de gaz allumés / La patronne est poitrinaire / Quand tu auras fini nous jouerons une partie de jacquet / Un chef d'orchestre qui a mal à la gorge / Quand tu viendras à Tunis je te ferai fumer du kief.Ça a l'air de rimer.Des piles de soucoupes des fleurs un calendrier / Pim pam pim / Je dois fiche près de 300 francs à ma probloque / Je préférerais plutôt me coupe le parfaitement que de les lui donner.Je partirai à 20h27 / Six glaces s'y dévisagent toujours / Je crois que nous allons nous embrouiller encore davantage.Cher monsieur / Vous êtes un mec à la mie de pain / Cette dame a le nez comme un ver solitaire / Louise a oublié sa fourrure / Moi je n’ai pas de fourrure et je n’ai pas froid / Le Danois fume sa cigarette en consultant l’horaire / Le chat noir traverse la brasserie / Ces crêpes étaient exquises / La fontaine coule / Robe noire comme ses ongles / C’est complètement impossible / Voici monsieur / La bague en malachite / Le sol est semé de sciure / Alors c’est vrai / La serveuse rousse a été enlevée par un libraire.Un journaliste que je connais d'ailleurs très vaguement.Écoute Jacques c'est très sérieux ce que je vais te dire.Compagnie de navigation mixte.Il me dit monsieur voulez-vous voir ce que je peux faire d'eaux-fortes et de tableaux / Je n'ai qu'une petite bonne.Après déjeuner café du Luxembourg.Une fois là il me présente un gros bonhomme / Qui me dit / Écoutez c'est charmant / À Smyrne à Naples en Tunisie / Maix nom de dieu où est-ce / La dernière fois que j'ai été en Chine / C'est il y a huit ou neuf ans / L'Honneur tient souvent à l'heure que marque la pendule / La quinte major. »
Original excerpt 2 : « The concierge and her mother will let everyone through / If you were a real man you’d come with me tonight / One should be enough to guard the main entrance / While the other guy goes upstairs.Three burners lit / The boss lady is tubercular / Afterwards we’ll play backgammon / A bandleader with a bad throat / When you come to Tunis we’ll smoke good hash.It practically rhymes.Piles of saucers of flowers a calendar / Bip bap bam / I owe 300 francs to the landlady / I’d sooner cut off my dick than pay her anything.I leave tonight at 8:27 / Six mirrors stare at each other unblinking / I think we’re headed for trouble / Dear Sir / You are a shitface.The lady has a nose like a tapeworm / Louise forgot her fur / Me I’ve got no fur but I’m not cold / Consulting a timetable the Dane smokes a cigarette / A black cat crosses the brasserie.Those crêpes were exquisite / The water’s running / Black dress black as her fingernails / It’s completely impossible / Here mister / The malachite ring / The ground is covered in sawdust / And so it’s true / The redheaded waitress ran off with a bookseller.A journalist I scarcely know.Listen Jack what I’m going to tell you is really serious.Shipping corporation combine.He says to me sir would you like to see my etchings and pictures / And me with only the one small maid.After lunch at the Café Luxembourg one time / He introduces me to this really big guy / Who says to me / Listen that would be charming / In Smyrna in Naples in Tunisia / But this is Paris for chrissake where is it / The last time I was in China / It must be eight or nine years ago / Honor depends on timing / The winning hand. » (Translated by Donald Revell)
Source : Apollinaire, Guillaume (1913-1916), “Lundi Rue Christine”, In “Calligrammes - Poèmes de la paix et de la guerre”, Mercure de France, 1918.
Source : Apollinaire, Guillaume (1913-1916), “Lundi Rue Christine”, In “The Self-Dismembered Man : Selected later Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire”, Translated by Donald Revell, Middleton, CT, Wesleyan University Press, 2004.
Source : Lehman, David (1998), “The Last Avant-Garde”, Doubleday, New York.
Source : Matthews, Timothy (1987), "Reading Apollinaire: Theories of Poetic Language", Manchester University Press ND, pp. 153-154.
Urls : http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/0998/lehman/excerpt.html (last visited ) http://www.bookforum.com/archive/spr_04/perloff.html (last visited ) http://francais.agonia.net/index.php/poetry/1816873/index.html (last visited ) http://poems.com/Poets%20Picks/Seth_Abramson.html (last visited )

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