A note: Convalescence is a contrary state. While we may improve, it can take a lot longer to return to many of the things we long to accomplish. Such is the case with this blog. It has been neglected since my surgery and while I continue to improve, I have not been able to explore and record as I would like. Thank you for bearing with me. Today, I had the good fortune of my subject coming to me, more or less. Our local Pompiers (fire-fighters) sponsored today’s vide grenier. Since I have previously posted on a vide grenier, I focus today on the poet and Ambassador to Republique de Montmartre, Linda Bastide.
Linda Bastide is a popular poet from the town of Narbonne. Her numerous books of poetry have been translated to a number of languages including, Spanish, Romanian, Italian and English. She is member of l’ Académie Française and Ambassador to République de Montmartre.
L’ Académie Française was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu and is the pre-eminent French Learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie consists of forty members who are known as immortels (immortals) and they elected by the Académie itself and serve for life.
République de Montmartre was founded in 1921 by the most famous artists in Montmartre and continues its charitable and cultural actions. Thanks to the voluntary commitment of its members, citizens, members of parliament, consuls, ambassadors and ministers, it works in aid of disadvantaged children and bringing together visual artists, writers and musicians. This beautiful and great institution ensures that the rebellious yet human spirit on which the legend of Montmartre is built is preserved, while remaining loyal to its motto: Rejoice in doing good!
She is soft spoken, warm and ready with a smile. Most of all, her poetry is a delight to the senses. It was a treat to see her in my village today and gave me an opportunity to obtain another one of her books and chat.
A selection from her latest book: 13 pas dans le sable / 13 steps in the sand …
Born Émile-Hortensius-Charles Cros on 1 October, 1842, in the small village of Fabrezan, France which is located in the Department Aude in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
Charles Cros was a highly respected poet and inventor. Among his work were various methods of photography including a process for color photos and improvements in telegraph and recorded sound technology.
Charles Cros worked on reproducing sounds which were engraved on a diaphragm. He gave his invention the name Paléophone and submitted his plans to the Academy of Sciences in Paris on 30 April, 1877. In this document he details his method. The letter was read to the public 3 December that same year. When translated, his hypothesis is that a
method of sensing oscillation of a membrane then with that tracing, re-create the oscillation with consideration for its strength and extent.
These findings were published on 10 October, 1877. The American inventor, Thomas Edison premiered a working model before Cros had a chance to do so. Mr. Edison’s succeeded in patenting his phonograph in January of 1878. There is nothing to indicate that either had previous knowledge of the others work.
Among his published works were:
Solution générale du problème de la photographie des couleurs (1869- non-fiction)
Poetry: Le coffret de santal (1873 and 1879), Plainte (1873), Le Fleuve
(1874), La Vision du Grand Canal des Deux Mers (1888) and Le Collier de griffes (posthumous, 1908)
Among his friends were the poet Arthur Rimbaud and the artist Édouard Manet. Ernest Coquelin took Cros’ poem, The Kippered Herring as his inspiration to create what he called monologues, short theatrical pieces. A format that has been copied by countless others.
L’Académie Charles Cros, which is the French equivalent of the US Recording Academy was named in his honor.
Off the beaten path, about five minutes from my front door is the Cascade (Waterfall). It may not be large and is best viewed in the rainy season. Yet, it is ours and a lovely place to sit and contemplate, paint, draw, write or share with a friend.
Despite living in the village for several years, I continue to marvel at how fortunate I am to be here. The cascade is best viewed immediately after it rains. Les poissons swim about on their way to a creek and then to la rive berre and the ruins of an ancient mill provides a stunning backdrop.
Tranquility and beauty provide a perfect setting for contemplation of the year soon to pass and thoughts about the year to come.
In July 1936 the fascist troops of Franco invaded Spain and while this blog is dedicated to life in France, it impossible to live in this area and not acknowledge this history between the two neighbouring countries.
December 1 and 2, was an exhibition showcasing The sons and daughters of the Spanish Republicans and Children of the Exodus. The author, Gérard Baylet, was on hand to share a wealth of documents, art work, and numerous artifacts from the period.
In his book, LA RÉVOLUTION ESPAGNOL, the author guides you along the footsteps of his grandfather, Simon. Experience the day-to-day of Simon as he enlisted in July 1936 with the Spanish Republicans to fight the troops of Franco. It is through Simon’s letters home to his wife, Andréa, that we discover the journey these soldiers faced.
The war for family, country and the struggle for liberty led many to cross The Pyrenees and integrate into the local population. This was not to be the first time that war has changed the boundaries and/or culture between the countries of Spain and France. There influence is all about us here.
FFREEE, Fils et Filles de Républicains Espagnols et Enfants de l’Exode, is an association of ancestors who are committed to collecting, conserving, artifacts and information then disseminating the information through conferences, expositions, publications and cultural events. They were kind enough to lend a number of items to this exhibit.
While I do apologise for the quality of some of the photos, I thought they were important and should be shared regardless. I only wish I could include all the photos that I took.
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”
– Leonardo da Vinci
The Greeks founded this southern French city in the sixth century BC. Later, the Roman Empire came to the city and connected the city to Narbonne by the Domitian Way. Later, the Visigoths who settled there invaded Béziers.
During the crusade to purge the land of the Cathars the papal legate from Rome was given orders to “Kill them all, let God sort them.” The burning of Béziers and the massacre of its population took place on July 22, 1209.
One of the first cities in the southern part of France to be chartered, a government and consuls who exercised their power over the ancient Roman Forum was Béziers.
Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in Bézieres in the early 1600’s. He drew and designed the Canal du Midi, which profoundly altered not only the landscape but also the activity of the area. Louis XIV obtained permission for the canal to be built. I have enjoyed many strolls and meals along the banks of the canal. The canal itself will be a future topic on this blog. Monsieur Riquet had achieved what no other person had to date. The canal was the solution for providing water to the channel, permanently by linking the Garonne (Atlantic) and the Mediterranean. This would provide, develop and secure trade between the two seas.
The most propitious period for Béziers was in the nineteenth century. With the advent of the automobile and open trade in the wine market that employs a great number of people it lead to an unparalleled increase in the population and fortunes were created.
The most auspicious period in the history Beziers is situated in the nineteenth century. The growth of industry, car, and open trade in the local wine market and wine world, which employs thousands of people, lead to unprecedented population growth.
Today, Béziers is a city of just over 70,000 people. When I visited Béziers in 2006, I found a lovely bookstore and picked up Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. While I was not interested in carrying such a large book around France, the shop owner highly recommended it. Coming out of the bookstore at lunchtime, I followed my nose to the neighboring café and enjoyed a most delicious lunch in the sunshine. I am looking forward to visiting Béziers in the spring and exploring more of its wonderful layers. From previous experience, I know that the wines of the area are well worth the trip alone.
Being a poet myself, I was intrigued with the lovely Parc des Poetes. This city is certainly worthy of your consideration. If you are interested, you can view my other blog at: http://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com
“Be Not Inhospitable To Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise” – George Whitman
Just a few weeks ago, this blog featured a Parisian treasure, Shakespeare & Company. Today, this blog is dedicated to the man who made this writer’s and reader’s mecca all that it could be. George Whitman, an Angel in Disguise, died on Wednesday at the age of 98 years young.
No doubt, his spirit will linger on in every corner of the shop, between book and page now safely in the hands of his daughter and those entrusted with Shakespeare & Company’s care.
If you have not experienced a visit to Shakespeare & Company, it is an unforgettable experience. When you cross George’s threshold, you enter another world. This is a world of books, writers, readers and a remarkable chapter in Literary History. George and Shakespeare & Company are each legendary in their own right.
Sleep well. Your rest is well earned and know you have made a difference in countless lives. To George’s daughter Sylvia and the many others who are dedicated to continuing George’s legacy, I offer my sincere condolences.
Upon arriving in Paris, many are drawn to such destinations as The Eiffel Tower, Cathedral Notre Dame, La Louvre or one of many other Parisian landmarks. However, when I first arrived in Paris my first stop was to a landmark English Book Store in the Latin Quarter.
Located across the Seine from Cathedral Notre Dame, this haven for readers and writers is a living legend. The focus of this bookstore is English-language literature. It has served as not only inspiration but also home to writers for decades. In its current incarnation, it honors the past and the work of the original owner, Sylvia Beach. Miss Beach was responsible for publishing authors who had previously been unsuccessful in their attempts to be in print such as James Joyce. The advent of WWII closed the doors of the original Shakespeare & Company begun by Miss Beach. Miss Beach managed to keep the bookstore open through 1941 and the fall of Paris. However, the war had taken its toll.
After the war, American, George Whitman was not eager to return immediately. Instead, he enrolled in French classes at the Sorbonne. He amassed a large collection of books and his apartment became a lending library. After discussions with a friend, he found an apartment in the location where the bookstore still stands and turned that into a bookstore library. He used the name Shakespeare and Company in honor of Miss Beach and all that she had achieved.
There is a sign that you will see when you enter the shop that sums up George’s philosophy in life. “Be not inhospitable to strangers least they be angels in disguise.” George Whitman took in many hungry writers and shared his home and his life. There were beds among the books and often pancakes with George himself. His story is truly amazing and bears future reading. The list of authors who have received inspiration and support at Shakespeare and Company is like reading a list of who’s who in the literary world for the past century. George and his daughter continue to support writers. Visiting authors, late night poetry readings are just some of the delights that are waiting for you.
In his novel, Time Was Soft There, Canadian journalist Jeremy Mercer chronicles his time living and working in the bookstore. It is food for any reader or writer’s soul. When you are planning that trip to Paris, put it on your list of musts.
This writer was thrilled when the shop took a few of my first poetry chapbooks on consignment and still have the receipt as a treasured souvenir of my first trip to France. I look forward to returning to Paris and to Shakespeare & Company.
TheCertifiablyTRUERavingsOfASectionedPhilosopher: Don't be afraid to think you might be a little 'crazy'. Who isn't? Check out some of my visualized poems here: https://www.instagram.com/maxismaddened/