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This report is taken from PN Review 47, Volume 12 Number 3, January - February 1986.

Letter from Paris James Woodall
In La Maison de la Poésie, Parisians have an enthusiastic and well-organised promoter of contemporary literature. In spite of its name, it is keen to stress a versatile and unparochial function, while maintaining that its first duty is, as it is put in an information hand-out, 'to encourage the reading and integration of poetry into French culture'.

Conceived and founded in March 1983 by the poet Pierre Emmanuel (who died last November), it is a non-profit making organisation subsidised entirely by the Mairie de Paris. It can be found on the top story of the multi-tiered Forum des Halles, amidst the rather alarming glass structures that dominate this otherwise old and personable - though increasingly down-at-heel - quarter of Paris. It attracts, for all that, and principally because of its central situation, many curious passers-by and no small number of tourists.

A small reference library adjoining the sizeable lecture room houses some five thousand works of poetry, much of it contained in magazines, journals and reviews printed by the publishers specialising in poetry. La Maison has its own bi-monthly review called, simply Poésie, followed by whatever year it happens to be. Poésie 85 consists so far of two issues, the latest featuring amongst others Emmanuel himself, to whom La Maison dedicated a 'hommage' in late March. Its editor is Pierre Seghers who, until eighteen years ago, ran a publishing house dealing mainly in poetry (and to a lesser extent cinema) which still operates under his name; before ...


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