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Jean Daive
A Lesson in Music

translated from the French by Julie Kalendek
poems, 64 pages, smyth-sewn
ISSN 0269-0179 "Serie d'Ecriture"
ISBN 0-930901-80-0, original paperback $14

Jean Daive was born in 1941. This book is part 7 of his multi-volume work, Narration d'equilibre, of which 9 parts have appeared between 1982 and 1990. He is known as one of the important French avant-garde poets. His first book, Decimale blanche (MdF, 1967) was translated in German by Paul Celan, into English by Cid Corman (White Decimal, Origin, 1969).


"...technically brilliant and intellectually rich... a restrained, tightly controlled work of wit and elegance, more classical than romantic, more objective than subjective, more a work of highbrow intellect than of somatic, gut-wrenching fury."

--Dawn Michelle Baude, American Book Review


"The elegance of this book lies rooted in the sultriness of naming and the eroticism of possessing--and paradoxically, the unreliability of writing to specifically name or possess anything. Daive's poetry is immersed within the blurs, perforations, negatives and details that surround objects.... The force of words that can simultaneously cradle and destroy the space of thought is what Daive's poetry masters. He charts the movements from thought to word, from desire to touch, with the eye of one tracking a barely visible ship on the horizon."

--Kristin Prevallet, Taproot


"Unlike some of his contemporaries, he does not avoid drama. The very silences between his short verbal disjuctive constructs carry emotion--like erratic nervous ticks. Behind the fracturing of his sentences, there is a narrative movement...like fast-moving films. Memory breaks into the present, making what is present veiled, but the action is always engaging, even dramatic, yet strangely disengaged as with the hysterical girl and the man who is 'north of human'."

--Harriet Zinnes, Small Press