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

LORAND GASPAR Cerisy-la-Salle colloquium on 'Lorand Gaspar: le poème du monde', 10-17 August 1994
LORAND GASPAR, 'Vivre et écrire', La Nouvelle Revue française, March 1994
ANA PAULA COUTINHO MENDES, Lorand Gaspar: Na Terceira margem - uma poética da luddez (Oporto: Instituto des estudos franceses da Universidade do Porto)
LORAND GASPAR, Four Poems, translated from the French by Peter Riley (Oasis/Shearsman)

Discernment and discretion are required when choosing from among the proliferation of summer conferences, but I can recommend the 'vie de chateau' at Cerisy, in the green depths of the Normandy countryside, the more so when a contemporary poet of the literary and human calibre of Lorand Gaspar is in vigilant and benign attendance. It was good to see so many alert readers drawn from France, Greece, Portugal, Tunisia, the USA and these islands. The numerous London contingent became known as 'la bande à Mado' in tribute to the principal organiser, Madeleine Renouard of Birkbeck College, whose discreet efficacity and incisive interventions were much appreciated. Fewer than average papers wandered away from the subject into the speaker's own area of preoccupation, philosophical or psychological, but even they remained for the most part sensitive, germane and illuminating. Hair-splitting, as between 'immanence' and 'transcendence', became tarte à la crème for a couple of days, but hadn't the flavour of the real thing served for dinner.

Less ethereal investigations probed in different ways the continuum which lies at the heart of Gaspar's thinking. As both surgeon and poet he emphasises the absolute continuity between all phenomena and all vital processes, both physical and mental, the latter being absolutely indissociable from the former. His exploration of what makes the individual out of and beyond the general entails profound respect for others, expressed in his medical practice and in his writing. The splendid text 'Vivre et écrire', the one for him being ...


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