Desire’s Emergency

Form emerges as the poem takes shape in time. The energy of this emergency is desire. Jaccottet’s ‘nothing’—- (Nothing at all, a footfall on the road,/yet more mysterious than guide or god.) Mahon Trans. Nothing has become a symbol in our time susceptible to many interpretations. It takes a connoisseur. Jaccottet was devoted to the Earth (we will not have done with symbols!). In Char’s word, he was a ‘requalified man.’ (See Selected Poems, translated by Derek Mahon, Wake Forest University Press, 1988).

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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