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This poem is taken from PN Review 101, Volume 21 Number 3, January - February 1995.

Interiors Mimi Khalvati

after Edouard Vuillard

The poems published here complete the sequence 'Interiors', the first part of which, 'Four Interiors', was published in PNR 100.

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) lived with his mother until her death when he was 50. Mme.Vuillard was a seamstress and her workroom, like his studio, was part of the home. 'The home and the studio were one, and the honour of the home and the honour of the studio the same honour. What resulted? Everything was a rhythm, a rite and a ceremony from the moment of rising. Everything was a sacred event… '(Charles Péguy, I'Argent).

My own mother was a dressmaker and my grandmother (who bears some resemblance to Mme. Vuillard) presided over daily visits to her home by seamstresses. This poem is intended as a tribute, not only to Vuillard's art, but to the art of these women.

In many of the childhood Studies, I have tried to speak, in a collective voice, not as 'the child within the adult' but as 'the adult within the child'. Much material is drawn from Vuillard, His Life And Work by Claude Roger Marx (Paul Elek 1946), to whom I am indebted.


II Studies for the Workroom
With an arm along a table,
a head against an arm
and the sensation of an eye

from the highest corner of the room
that looks down, sees only

our right side laid
in falls of light
while shadows on its underside
pulsate against an ear,
...


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