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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Seeking the elusive 'reality of joy'

“The poet's expression of joy conceals his despair at not having found the reality of joy.” Max Jacob

Born in France on this date in 1876, the avant-garde poet Max Jacob is regarded as an important link between symbolists and surrealists, as can be seen in his prose poems (like The Dice Box) and in his paintings, exhibited in Europe and America alike during his heyday in the 1930s.  Born Jewish but a Catholic convert, Jacob didn’t hesitate to speak out against the Nazis, which led to his arrest and death in an internment camp in 1944 while still at the height of his popularity.
                     Writer-artist Max Jacob and an example of his painting style
Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan attributes the quote "The truth is always new" to Jacob.  Here, for an example of his prose poetry and Saturday’s Poem, is Jacob’s thought-provoking,


Can one plant a beech tree in such a small garden? The doors and windows of the seven neighboring workshops come together on the little courtyard where my brother and I are. The seed of the beech tree is a slightly rotten banana or a potato. There are some old ladies who are not pleased with you. But if the beech tree grows up, won't it be too big? And if it doesn't grow up, what's the sense of planting it? Yet while planting it, my friends found my precious gems that I had lost.

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