All these things that make the night crack, by Cécile A. Holdban, by Pierre Tanguy

Review by Pierre Tanguy , published on Des Sources et des livres and on Recours au poem .

Cécile A. Holdban, All those things that make the night crack

"The art of the brief. Cécile A. Holdban demonstrates it to us again by publishing no less than 208 haikus and tercets which she accompanies with her own paintings. The artist and poet reports, in this new book, the fruit of his work during a literary and artistic residency in Ardèche.

Cécile A.Holdban has several strings to her bow. Poet, painter, translator (Hungarian, English, etc.), she “writes”, as she says herself, in books and magazines. About one of his first collections ( Un nid dans les brambles, La Part Commune), we noted “the vigilant tenderness she had for landscapes and those she carries within herself”.

Here we are, once again, squarely in this sensory approach to the world. Cécile A. Holdban grasps reality with both the rigor and the simplicity that befits authentic poets. This reality is first of all a nature into which she plunges without restraint. Faithful to the founding principles of haiku, she touches the world that lives around her by setting her sights on everything that moves along the way, often the most insignificant. “A discreet joy/knowing how to name/the herbs of the path,” she writes. “Day after day/I see the pippin apple rounding out.”

Attentive to these moments of wandering experienced in the Ardèche countryside, she can also write: “From the old bridge/to the goat farm/the trail of droppings”. Because Cécile A.Holdban does not write from just anywhere. Its text bears the mark of the region that welcomes it. Here, under his pen, are chestnut trees, porcini mushrooms and chanterelles, holm oak and marjoram. “Purple dawn/three chard plums/on the way”. And what about all the birds that keep her company, that she names or paints with relish. Spotted woodpecker, redstart, nuthatch, jay, buzzard: they cross his pages with a flick of their wings and his haikus keep their trace. “The knock of the woodpecker/offers me the doors/of a land of trees”

From haiku we can even slide smoothly into thought or aphorism. “Take what comes/leave the rest to the wind/live like a tree.” And no doubt leaning over these streams which irrigate the Ardèche hills, she writes: "Memories ricochet/longer than pebbles", while at the end of a day which we imagine rich in pickings of all kinds, she writes these words with high emotional value: “In a bouquet/the childhood of my mother/and that of my children”.  From start to finish, we feel the artist-painter that she is, striving to  stay true to what his eyes saw. “Search for a long time/for the exact shade/of the shadow of a petal.” This  concern for the accuracy and accuracy that characterizes it."

Pierre Tanguy

Link to the article on Sources and books:
Pierre Tanguy | Readings | Reviews (

Link to the article on Use of poetry:
Cécile A.Holdban, All these things that make the night crack – Recourse to the poem (

Link to order the book:
Cécile A. Holdban, All those things that make the night crack – Éditions Exopotamie