REVOLT AGAINST POETRY – Antonin Artaud

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We have never written anything except against a backdrop of the incarnation of the soul, but the soul already is made (and not by ourselves when we enter into poetry. The poet, who writes, addresses himself to the Word, and the Word to its laws. It is the unconscious of the poet to believe automatically in these laws. He believes himself free thereby, but he is not. There is something back of his head and over the ears of his thought. Something budding in the nape of his neck, rooted there from even before his beginning. He is the son of his works, perhaps, but his works are not of him; for whatever is of himself in his poetry has not been expressed by him but rather by that unconscious producer of life, who has pointed life out to him in order that he not designate life himself; and who obviously has never been well-disposed toward him. Well, I don’t want to be the poet of my poet, of that self which fancied it’d choose me to be a poet; but rather a poet-creator, in rebellion against the ego and the self. And I call to mind the old rebellion against the ego and the self. And I call to mind the old rebellion against the forms that came over me.It is by revolt against the ego and the self that I disemburden myself from all the evil incarnations of the Word, which have never been anything more for man than a compromise between cowardice and illusion, And I only know abject fornication when it comes to cowardice and illusion. And I don’t want a word of mine coming from I don’t know what astral libido completely aware of the formations of, say, a desire that is mine and mine alone. There is in the forms of the human Word I don’t know what operation of rapaciousness, what self-devouring greed going on; whereby the poet, binding himself to the object, sees himself eaten by it. That is a crime weighing heavy on the idea of the Word-made -flesh, but the real crime is in having allowed the idea in the first place. Libido is animal thought, and it was these same animals which one day were changed into men. The word produced through these men is the idea of an invert buried by his animal response to things, who has forgotten ( through the martyrdom of time and things) that the word has been invented. The invert is he who eats his self, and desires that his self nourish him, seeking his mother in it and wanting to possess her for himself. The primitive crime of incest is the enemy of poetry and the killer of poetry’s immaculacy. I don’t want to eat my poem but I want to give my heart to my poem. And what is my heat yo my poem? My heart is what isn’t my ego. I am that forgotten poet who one day saw himself hurtle to matter, and matter never will devour me, my ego. I don’t want those old reflexes, results of an ancient incest come from an animal ignorance of the Virgin law of life. The ego and the self are those catastrophic states of being in which the Living Man allows himself to be imprisoned by the forms that he percieved by himself. To love his ego is to love death, and the law of the Virgin is infinite. The unconscious producer of our selves is that of an ancient copulator who frees himself to commit more vulgar magicks, and who has pulled off the most famous wizardry by having brought himself back to his self-same self over and above his very self, eternally, so that he was able even to pull a word out of a cadaver. The libido is the definition of that cadaverous desire, and the falling man an invert criminal. I am such a primitive, discontented with the inexpiable horror of things. I don’t want to reproduce myself in things but I want things to happen through my self. I don’t want to reproduce myself in things but I want things to happen through my self. I don’t want an idea of my ego in my poem and I don’t want to meet my self again there, either. My heart is that eternal Rose come from the magic power of the initial Cross. He who crucified Himself never returned to himself. Never. For he also surrendered to Life the self by which he sacrificed Himself, after having forced it within himself to become the being of his own life. I want only to be such a poet forever, who sacrificed himself in the Kabbala of self for the immaculate conception of things.

A CRY

The little celestial poet
Opens the shutters of his heart.
The heavens clash. Oblivion
Uproots the symphony.

Stableman the wild house
That has you guard wolves
Does not suspect the wraths
Smoldering beneath the big alcove
Of the vaults that hang above us.

Hence silence and darkness
Muzzle all impurity
The sky strides forward
At the crossroad of sounds.

The star is eating. The oblique sky
Is opening its flight toward the heights
Night sweeps away the scraps
Of the meal that contented us.

On earth walks a slug
Which is greeted by ten thousand white hands
A slug is crawling
There where the earth vanished.

Angels whom no obscenity summons
Were homeward bound in peace
When rose the real voice
Of the spirit that called them.

The sun lower than the daylight
Volatilized all the sea
A strange but clear dream
Was born on the clean earth.

The lost little poet
Leaves his heavenly post
With an unearthly idea
Pressed upon his hairy heart.

Two traditions met.
But our padlocked thoughts
Lacked the place required,
Experiment to be tried again.

A.A.

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