Monsieur le Caire,
It must be sudden seeing this letter, no less in a section dedicated to contemporary poetry. But I vividly remember reading the poems you published on Facebook five years ago, and you’re still at it. Everybody apparently liked them, and so you became the renowned poet of our year.
Perhaps I was jealous, but now I have moved onto much more complex emotions than that. Yet, I noted that there was something inherently superficial about your poetry. It was universally applicable to ridiculous degrees. It was art that meant to appeal and to be relatable. Yet I would not clarify it as ‘popular art’, as it was targeted primarily towards peers from our immediate social context.
I must clarify the following: to my understanding and belief, art is like nature. This means to imply that its absence means its presence. It might be the case that one fails to find merit or value in a work, but that does not suggest it is not art.
That said, I did feel an inexplicable indignation at your publications. So much so that I wrote a poem called ‘Contemporary Times‘ to express my frustration.
It would seem, however, that your literary career is also more advanced than mine. A blog of the name ‘Beyond the Covers’ has published your works (also apparently in a homonymous newspaper). Additionally, you have published five books (yes, five books!). Tant pis all of them are about 30 pages regarding financial advice and not one of them is literature of artistic pretence. Here are three examples, titles translated on purpose:
- Comment postuler à, être approuvé et travailler votre job de rêve: conseilles et astuces pour atteintre votre salaire
- Le marché financier: la route de l’enfer au paradis
- Le problème : « J’en veux ! »
It really seems to me you treat your work as a stepping stone for social and personal gain, not as the end goal but as a means towards one. I would like to stress this does not imply your poetry is not ‘art’, but my appreciation of it (as well as everyone else’s, in my opinion) should not be very high.
“Death to the author!” Barthes aggressively whispers in echoes throughout time. But here my criticism is not of the author; I am not mistaking art for the artist. My judgement of the author came from the opposite direction – I saw the work, then I saw the character.
So now a fair proposition would arise: display one of the poems and explain why it fails as an aesthetic project. However, I would have to show a translation (which I myself would have to do), and in that act I will inevitably re-poeticise the piece.
This phenomenon deserves a post on its own, but the bottom line remains the same – it will ultimately be a misrepresentation of your work.
Thank you for your time and attention.