Franck André Jamme

Franck André Jamme

Henri Michaux called him a ‘writer of rare quality’ and Franck André Jamme’s silent and Indian-inspired work has made that qualification manifest ever since the 1981. From that year he has published several volumes of poetry and fragments; la Recitation de L’oubli, De la Multiplication des breches et des obstacles and Encore une attaque silencienne. As far as I know, he has not been particularly keen on looking for publicity or media/internet attention – at least not outside the French speaking boundaries. In an interview this absence is explained by Jamme himself as follows (read on..)

“So I arrived in Delhi, spent four or five days there, and found myself one morning in front of a bus for Jaipur. I immediately felt the bus was not the right one, but I was with my wife and quite a lot of luggage and stress, so reluctantly I decided to board this bus. On the road, thirty kilometers after leaving Delhi, first the driver ran into a small farmer’s cart. He argued half an hour with the peasant, finally gave him some bills, and we started off again. By then, the driver was looking really tired; perhaps he had driven his “deluxe” bus for some days without really resting, I don’t know. I had chosen a seat in the front row (I wanted to shoot some photos on the road, quietly). Another thirty kilometers later, suddenly I saw a big truck coming from the opposite direction and heading straight toward our bus. After that, I have just bits and pieces of memory. I experienced several comas. Later I learned that I had been brought in another bus—because I had a ticket for Jaipur, I had to go to Jaipur—to the Jaipur General Hospital with nine fractures, and also that seven people around me on the bus had died. I spent two days in this hospital without any special first aid. I remember hearing that the hospital didn’t have any anesthetic. Then my wife called the French embassy in Delhi. They sent somebody who put me on one plane Jaipur-Delhi, then another Delhi-Paris, in a sort of hammock. I spent three weeks in a Parisian hospital, then six months at home in a hospital bed. In this bed I wrote the book called The Recitation of Forgetting that John Ashbery translated almost twenty years later. BB: A silver lining to all that darkness . . . FAJ: Yes—fortunately. But there followed two bad years, not just for my broken body but also for my mind. It was really too difficult to live with the memory of this failure. Like when you have fallen off your horse, the best is to get up and ride again as soon as possible.”

One poem of Jamme is perhaps even more haunting:

Actually, there were several of them. Two, most of the time. And
always
absorbed in somewhat peculiar, let’s say almost silent,
conversations.

–Watch you don’t slip.

–Don’t worry,
I’ll be fine.

Will we ever be done with clouds?

[…]

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