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The Imagination of Henri Michaux

Join Richard Sieburth and Pierre Joris as they discuss Sieburth ‘s new translation of Henri Michaux’s A Certain Plume (NYRB).

The figure of Plume preoccupied the great Belgian poet Henri Michaux throughout his career. Plume, meaning feather or pen, is a character who drifts from one thing to another, losing shape, taking new forms, at perpetual risk from reality. He is a personification of the imagination as subject to innumerable pratfalls and disgraces, and yet indestructible for all that.

Celebrated around the world for his accomplishments as a writer and artist, Henri Michaux was born in Namur, Belgium, and settled in Paris in the 1920s. There, taken by imagination and creativity, he began to write and paint, and his work drew the attention and praise of influential critics, André Gide and Maurice Blanchot among them. Averse to publicity and public honors, he refused the French Grand Prix National des Lettres in 1965.