Poetry-Paleo on the ALCA by Serge Airoldi
Poetry-Paélo, by Maxime Morel by Serge Airoldi
We are moving into new territory. That of the Biarritz publisher Exopotamie. Three titles in the catalog. Funny name, isn't it? It is a borrowing from Boris Vian whose Autumn in Beijing , we remember, is the story of a man who misses his bus and leaves for the desert – in Exopotamia – to build a railway line. New territory again, that surveyed by the author – unknown to us, Maxime Morel, born in Paris, teacher at the higher art school of the Basque Country – of this singular text with a title which does not sew anything in white thread: Poetry-Paleo.
So let's read this first book of poetry, as announced by its publisher. It is a strangeness, a pleasure in the strange that he reveals to the rhythm of motifs, itineraries, wonders, legends, trances and so many other disturbing discoveries. His meadow is the universal minus the walls, a revisited locality called Basque Country that the bearded poet flies over and searches for the juice, the meaning, the end of the end. This socoburu as they say over there.
We remember The Invention of Morel , also a strange novel written in 1940 by the Argentinian Alfonso Bioy Casares. It depicts the encounter of a man and a desert island. Except that the island is not deserted but populated by specters invented by an illusion machine. The other Morel , ours, in his own way, also questions the invisible vortices and the reality of a landscape and the staging of time and geographies.
“Maxime Morel appeals to Adour and mythologies, he shakes up the Basque-Atlantic current, the Nive, and again and again this Adour which goes to Scotland.”
In the style of an artist who would make a collage for more details than a regular, expected line, entirely understood by all but phantasmagoric, Maxime Morel solicits Adour and mythologies, he shakes up the Basque-Atlantic current, the Nive, and again and again this Adour which goes to Scotland. It looks like what Bernard Manciet wrote in I don't know what super-powerful text of poetry. Morel also knocks at the door of the Oxocelhaya cave. It celebrates the smallest little horse in the world. Summons cave art – Lascaux, Pech-Merle, Chauvet, only Pair-non-Pair is missing –, sings Chantaco and gets lost in Garros, this pond itself a vestige of the ancient bed of the Adour. He dialogues with the walking Shell, the bold Rooster, the peacemaking Horse. Like the river, it takes the disappeared roads, and finds the first song of the tracks to tell the time of Dreams in the company of Emily Dickinson – who would complain? –, by Hugo Von Hofmannsthal, Marina Tsvetaeva and other poets that we do not know, but whose shared chorus forms a very lubricating echolalia on the surface of the waters.
On foot, on horseback, by car, as some people would once go to the Brive-la-Gaillarde market, the inventor Morel travels through this Basque Country which is not short of symbols, fictions, places where there is never any point. In his own way, the inventor - as this function indicates - discovers the links which are woven between landscapes, which are knotted between the grasses and which little by little draw, we are attentive witnesses, a cartography that a Michel Ohl – the pataphysical geodesist from Onessa , understand, in Russophile “Ohlandish”, he was from Onesse-et-Laharie in Haute-Lande – would certainly have applauded.
“In short: everything is learning, everything is a sign, everything is a clue, a scar, an augury.”
In this skein, less geopoetry than poetry of the ancient, this ultramodern ancient – as long as we know how to flush it out in our most banal, most uncertain environment – which underlies the Grand Chant, the Beautiful Silence and ultimately everything of our occurrence in this world, Maxime Morel weaves his web, provokes the vultures, worries about the smells of chemistry, calls on the rain – once again we think of this great guest of Manciet's poetry – so that it "transforms Writing on horseback.” Moreover, everything is written in Morel's paleographic jamboree: the pebbles which dotted the grass, the dance of the trucks on the highway, the billions of caresses of bird wings, the collar of the blockhouses on the dune, still the Adour, which flows greedily into the Mar Grana. This Adour, whose marvelous Morelian biography indicates that the river is "accompanied by banks which end in dikes". Every place is a book: we have known this since Andrea Zanzotto. Each Basque megalith, each fold, fold, flysch hem, each modernity constantly renewed in the light of what we learned one day is an indication to continue the journey. One terminal after one terminal. In short: everything is learning, everything is a sign, everything is a clue, a scar, an augury. Everything is read/write/ write.
These messages, to quibble a little, are missing only the brutal breath of the Zezengorri, this legendary red bull, and the Irrintzina, this cry of Times and Ancestors, so that the picture is definitively fiery. But it is already very complete. Quite surprising. And that should be enough to rejoice.
Article published on the ALCA website (Prologue) on March 18, 2021:
Buy the book online: Poetry-Paleo – Éditions Exopotamie