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Photo de couverture : bananiers à Nice (prise par Laurence Marie Noé)

I have not written for a long time and I am sorry about that. I was active though. I listened to a lot of radio podcasts and particularly one about the use of anglicisms in French, and I have a lot to say about that and will give my opinion in a next to come article. This topic deserves  time and space entirely dedicated to it. 

As I think this blog is involved in  questions related to writing and language, thus it cannot dodge or evade from the questions and problems the anglicisms carry with their intrusions into  French language. 

But that will be the subject of another exciting article which I hope you will react to. I will write it in February, I promise.

But let's come back to our mysterious American poet :

This is the answer to the riddle of our workshop (1)

Richard Brautigan

He is the one I selected for you. His poetry seems to be very simple, nearly commonplace, but if  you read it through  (as he was only 20 and even less) page after page, poem after poem, you feel you are deliciously captive of its  humour and melancholy, a flavour of the sixties. Your certitudes are cracked like a salvation or a wreckage.




Why unknown poets stay unknown ?  Pourquoi les poètes inconnus restent inconnus ?

Why unknown poets stay unknown ? Pourquoi les poètes inconnus restent inconnus ?

I proposed a short poem, called Lonny. You could either write a new one, in French or English  or translate it as long as you convey a feeling at one moment  with a sound of your choice.

Translation is a real good exercise to enter a poet's soul, rythm and music and helps you to convey a mysterious attraction, something sensual and living (like a breath).

Hereunder is my translation and explanations of the  choices I made to translate :

Lonny is not difficult to understand  but in your translation you must be faithful to the poem, and keep the sound "s" which blows through the whole poem. It infuses a kind of breathing.





Lonny is

two years old.



she and I




We whispered

very softly,

and acted as if

we understood 

each other



Can you hear the sound of the  "s" like a soft song ? 



Lonny a

deux ans



elle et moi




Je ne savais pas

ce qu'elle chuchotait,

et elle

ne savait pas

ce que je chuchotais.


Nous chuchotâmes


et fîmes comme si

nous savions très bien

nous comprendre.


"whispered " could be translated by : elle et moi avons chuchoté (traduction de Thierry Beauchamp et de Romain Rabier) 2003/2016   ou  chuchotâmes  ou chuchotions.  I preferred the last one which describes a moment, a duration of the sound  "ch"  as if you could feel the touch of  a confidence in your ear.

Je ne savais pas

ce qu'elle chuchotait,

et elle

ne savait pas

ce que je chuchotais.



We whispered

very softly,

and acted as if

we  understood 

each other



For  "we whispered", I rather chose   "nous chuchotâmes" in French (past simple/passé simple)  because it conveys the idea of an action they lived together out of any particular moment (we don't know exactly how long it lasted, we only know it was yesterday) and the "âmes" at the end  stretches out the time of the whisper and sounds like a long note of music. I could have chosen "nous chuchotions" traduction choisie par R. Rabier et T. Beauchamp, but the word sounds shorter and rings (or sings) less.

"acted as if" :  nous fîmes comme si    (the same reasons as above) îmes sounds like a high-pitched and long note of music.  the "si" whistles.

This poem highlights  the act of whispering and not  what they say to each other. It conveys  intimacy, softness, physical reality, and a vivid consciousness of a privileged moment of harmony.







Today, as a new workshop, I propose another poem. 

Send a translation or a writing (or a drawing, or a photo) that conveys  a special moment in your life, full of  feelings and enjoy this very special moment that you created with your translation or writing, or drawing or any other mean of expression you feel at ease with.

Try it ! and make it your own !


Send it in the commentaries at the end of this workshop  or at plauranice@gmail.com. 


if i should die before you do


you wake up

from death,

you will find yourself

in my arms,


I will be

kissing you,



will be crying.


Richard Brautigan in "Why unknown poets stay unknown"

Note there are no capital letters. Note this poem is like a ballet, a round (une ronde) that inescapably (inéluctablement) sweeps you along with it ....




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"I want my writing to be like the swinging of banana leaves cutting up the blue sky above my head"     (L.M. Noé)   in Poems of the Instant  2020




Let's play at riddles first :


- Do you know who this man is ? It's a photo by Baron Wolman/conic images for the magazine , Esquire in 1968.

It was also released in Telerama  3521, dated  July 5th 2017.

Send your answer in "commentaires"  below the article. 

Thank you for your interest.


The writer, in front of his ranch in Montana with his daughter in 1980

The writer, in front of his ranch in Montana with his daughter in 1980

You now have at least two tips to find out who he is.

But let's discover and explore one of his writing.  This wonderful writer called his poems, paper flowers with love and death.  

I'll give you the name of the collection book where you can find this poem and so many others, all of them disconcerting and questioning poetry and literature. 



Lonny is

two years old.



she and I




I didn't know

what she was

whispering about,

and she didn't 

know what I was

whispering about.


We whispered

very softly,

and acted as if

we understood 

each other



Can you hear the sound of the  "s" like a soft song ?

Have you guessed now the name of this poet ? 



My daily writing workshop :

Write a very simple poem just like this one. 

1) Choose a moment of the day when you met someone (a child, a loved one, a neighbour, somebody in the street, or an animal) and choose a consonant (m, p, t, s ... ) reflecting  the idea, the atmosphere of this meeting. Was it a soft moment ? a disturbing moment ?  a violent one ?

Collect a few words with the same consonance  and build your idea with simplicity.


2) You can also try a translation of the poem in French,  making this ordinary moment with Lonny a very special moment.


3) Send your creation (a photo of the moment, a drawing, a poem in prose or free verses (in English, French),  in "commentaires " at the end of the article or to my mail box : plauranice@gmail.com. Explore the possibilities and make it your own writing. Live this moment.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you.

Writing makes your life more poetic, and magnifies any ordinary moment ... Try it !


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The strokes and lines are words, the shiverings in the branches are  grammar. The olive tree in the Castel-des-Deux Rois garden in Nice. Dessin mine de plomb Laurence Noé-Pécheur

The strokes and lines are words, the shiverings in the branches are grammar. The olive tree in the Castel-des-Deux Rois garden in Nice. Dessin mine de plomb Laurence Noé-Pécheur

What does  writing mean ?

What is it like ?

How should I start writing ?

What should I write, about what ?

These questions  are often asked by those who would like to write but don't know how to start.

People often want to tell a story or  tell memories when they were young, because everything seems to 

spring from that coloured time of  life.

I take another path, and surf on another wave.

My writing is taking place in the moment when I write. I mean, it's physical. My whole body is engaged and all my senses stay awake : I can hear, I can listen, I can touch, I can see, I can smell, I can taste. Very often I immerge myself into  a book and I read it aloud, to taste its flavour, its style, its colour. 

In the books I like and read, the grammar is also  vivid, it shows how words articulate, play with one another  and participate  in the life of the text, in its colour, sound, landscape. Grammar is not dead and plays a great role in a painting, ballet, a sonata or a text. 

How is a text woven ?  You have thousands of possibilities to weave a text and all your life to explore them. 

At the beginning, my goal is only to obtain a trace of writing.


Do you remember my article about Louise Bourgeois, how this artist allowed me to understand better her choices in creation. It was  the night of the New Year's eve 2020. 

I  started my article  in French, and English imposed itself after  I listened to  Louise Bourgeois' videos to understand better her progress. Her voice,  her timbre and what she said was like music.



Titre  et lien de l'article : 




Je suis allée voir Louise Bourgeois, du côté d'internet,  pour en connaître un peu plus sur cette artiste d'origine française et mondialement connue. C'est en retrouvant une carte postale montrant ses petites broderies,  que j'ai décidé de chercher et de lui faire une visite virtuelle.

Le photographe, Jean-François Jaussaud a fait un livre sur elle : Femme-Maison, aux éditions Albin-Michel, avec une préface de Marie-Laure Bernadac et Xavier Girard. Dans ce livre, il témoigne de son amitié, et mêle des photos  de sa maison de Chelsea, et de son atelier à Brooklyn, de ses sculptures, de ses notes et de ses "pensées-plumes".

A nouveau, je me trouve en relation étroite avec cette artiste. Atelier-plume, pensées-plumes ... concordances, coïncidences, correspondances ... Cela m'entraîne plus loin. Quelles sont ces pensées-plumes qui semblent être les siennes et peut-être les miennes ?

Elle dit : " Il n'y a que deux choses qui comptent dans notre vie amoureuse : la table de la salle à manger où nos parents nous ont fait souffrir. Et le lit où on s'allonge avec son mari. C'est là que les enfants sont nés et c'est là que l'on va mourir. En réalité ces deux objets font la même taille, ils ne forment qu'un seul et même objet".

J'écris :

Etude rectangulaire de la vie, simplifiée à l'extrême, dépouillée.

Je continue mes recherches et écoute sur Youtube, une conversation en anglais avec Jerry Gorovoy.

Jerry Gorovoy était l'assistant de Louise Bourgeois pendant plus de trente ans. Il a une connaissance profonde de son travail  et a joué un rôle clé dans le développement et la création artistiques de Louise Bourgeois, comme elle l'a si souvent souligné elle-même. C'est grâce à lui que beaucoup de ses oeuvres purent  naître et exister. Le thème central de cette vidéo est la réflexion sur la signification des oeuvres de Louise en tant qu'artiste et son rôle phare pour une génération d'artiste. Vous pouvez trouver cette vidéo très facilement sur Youtube.

Les réflexions sur l'art, les choix possibles, guident souvent mon petit atelier "dans un trou de verdure à Nice"  et l'écoute de Louise "m'ouvre à" ou confirme des choix que j'ai déjà faits.

Louise dit : "I'm not what I say, I'm what I do" ("Je ne suis pas ce que je dis, je suis ce que je fais" - voir vidéo Youtube : A prisoner of my memories (prisonnière de mes souvenirs).

Elle dit aussi : "I transform hate into love" (je transforme la haine en amour") "trying, failing and doing it again" (m'essayant, échouant et le faisant à nouveau).

Louise lost her mother when she was 21 and had to burry her son. (Louise perdit sa mère à 21 ans et enterra l'un de ses fils).

Cela donna lieu à un livre écrit avec Tracey Emin "Do not abondon me" (ne m'abandonne pas), où l'on peut admirer   les nombreuses aquarelles qu'elles se mit à peindre.

Louise Bourgeois est surtout connue pour ses sculptures gigantesques d'araignées, elles-mêmes enfermées dans des grillages de fer qui laissent voir l'intérieur et leur ventre  rempli d'oeufs.  Métaphore inquiétante de la mère, à la fois protectrice et dangereuse. Vous aimerez les araignées de Louise Bourgeois et sûrement, vous les regarderez autrement chez vous, avec amour.

La connaître autrement,  par ses paroles, ses mots, éclaire son oeuvre et nourrit mon petit atelier portatif, (mon atelier-plume) portant des oeufs prêts à éclore. Va-et-vient d'images, de mots, de pensées lourdes ou plumes. Il n'y a peut-être pas de pensées-plumes sans pensées-lourdes.

C'est alors que je me rendis compte de l'état d'abandon de mon lit, déserté et défait, dans sa rectangularité.

Je vois mon lit défait

chaud de la nuit

Pâle et plein de rides

Un chat y sommeille

Il se met en coussin

Les vibrisses en alerte

A tous les silences

Qui traversent

buissons épineux

Le jour qui pointe son nez humide

Tout replié

Tout ramassé

Tout en lui-même

Tout en écoute

En attente de rien

Il respire pourtant

Tout en-dedans

Tout en-dehors

Un petit coussin,

Tout échevelé,

Qui monte et qui descend.

Le 31 décembre 2019 ,  Nice  (poème de l'instant - une expérience de traduction - Sur la rive d'une année nouvelle)

I will continue in English and give a translation of  this poem of that very moment, in its platitude and triviality. However it is special and unique, and the color of it is quite nostalgic. It came like this ... and I didn't do anything to restrain it.


I can see my bed now

all messed up still

warm of the pale night

and deeply wrinkled

A cat is looking for a place to sleep

Like a pillow he is

all coiled up

His shrublike moustache

on alert

is listening to silences

Which pass through the daylight

 Shows its muggy nose

All withdrawn into himself

and all stocky

All within

All listening

And waiting for nothing

breathes though

All within

and all out of himself

A little hairy pillow

He was,


that goes up and down.

Laurence Marie Noé (a poem of the instant - an experience of translation). On the shore of a new year.

December 31st 2020


English and other foreign languages, which I continue to study, send me back to my own mother tongue, and add a special colour to it, the colour of strangeness, (étranger/étrangeté),  novelty, and freshness. English for example makes strange something very common, very ordinary and normally flat, but as  the music of English sounds differently,  French suddenly appears  new and echoing differently too. It's a good experience to translate and  try another language in a poetic way of writing. This is the reason why I started this workshop. To experience something new and very tasty  and in the end, very exciting. When you come back to French, you can hear it as if you were speaking a new language and as if it were the first day you can speak it. It opens new frontier of writing because it a new and everlasting experience. Try it if you can, and for the moment just keep it as an opportunity or a possibility which can be lived and felt.  Translating (it's like an incredible journey, you can fly through meanings, and signs, and words and grammar altogether), it makes you shift to something else you do not know yet.

Le mot "translation"  existe en français également et signifie "transfert" - donc voyage en quelque sorte. Ce mot est littéraire  et porte en lui l'action de déplacer quelque chose ou quelqu'un. Il s'agit  donc bien ici (dans l'écriture et la traduction dans une autre langue) de la possibilité d'une expérience d'étrangeté, et  d'ailleurs, pareille au voyage, celui qui vous fait traverser les signes et significations, les mots et la grammaire comme un paysage. L'atelier d'écriture peut mener où l'on veut et prendre des formes infinies, qu'une vie ne suffira pas à épuiser.

C'est aussi cette réalité que je voudrais partager et essayer de vivre pas à pas, expérimenter, chercher, essayer, se tromper et recommencer ... sans se restreindre. Tout est possible, comme dans l'art contemporain.


This article is bilingual, I'll continue in English as I picked up the impulse from Louise's voice and words and from what she said about her creation,  and about the thoughts that she bore while creating such as her feather-thoughts (ses pensées-plumes). These "pensées-plumes" drew me to know more about her, and to know what she meant with that material, in her creative hours.


She says her ideas and thoughts are like flies and butterflies, you have to catch them. And then Louise, what do you do with them ? I just let them  be and create at the same time with what they are".

I think these words are very important in the act of writing and we should keep them in mind as a truth inside of us.

Traduction : Comme je voulais savoir ce que Louise entendait à propos de ses "pensées-plumes", elle dit que ses idées et ses pensées étaient comme des mouches et des papillons, qu'il faut les attraper au vol. Et alors, Louise, qu'en faites-vous de ces pensées-plumes ?  Je les laisse être ce qu'elles sont et je crée en même temps.

Nous pouvons apprendre beaucoup de ces artistes, qui en même temps qu'ils créent réfléchissent à leur création. C'est ce que nous ferons pas-à-pas au cours des ateliers, du moins c'est ainsi que je les voudrais.

Ecrivez dans vos carnets "vos pensées-plumes", laissez les voler et écrivez en même temps comme elles se présentent. C'est l'esprit de cet atelier, volatile !


 Louise Bourgeois  A piece of Embroidery

Louise Bourgeois A piece of Embroidery

This page was dedicated to the spirit which infuses my writing, made of lots of patches, lots of bits and pieces  put together according to their own logic,  but month after month some kind of obstinacy beats out the rythm in a regular time. The blog follows a pattern, motives which are recurrent and often reminded as leitmotive.

Writing is an experience that makes life more intense. I feel more and more alive, present in my body and my mind and would like to share these moments with each of you. 

I hope you will find lots of opportunities to write with a pen, a pencil, a needle, a brush even a knife, as long as you take it for granted that writing is a living experience, and nothing else. Do it now and share on my blog through commentaries or mail your experience through your own blog or to my mail address : plauranice@gmail.com

I will give you a subject I have in mind in my next Tiny Writing Workshop.

Remember : Writing is not a project, it's a state of mind and it's a moment in your life you undertake to do it. 

Laurence Marie Noé      January 7th 2021




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