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This report is taken from PN Review 45, Volume 12 Number 1, September - October 1985.

Letter from Paris James Woodall
The first day of Spring could not have been springier. Apart from Parisians suffering the most changeable weather seen this year, the French all over had the chance to celebrate an art often associated with regeneration and healing, Chaucer's 'shoures soote'. The poetic sap rose two years ago in the Ministry of Culture (under the inspired leadership of Jack Lang) and engendered 'la Journee Nationale de la Poésie' in an effort to bring what is here an increasingly inaccessible activity to the attention of the general public. In towns throughout the country, libraries and town halls stage readings and events around poets and poetry, while on radio networks, including France-Culture, readings and general chat (and how much of it there is on French radio) are broadcast into the small hours of the morning. In Paris, a diverse range of activities included an all-day-and-night reading session at the Pompidou Centre given by fifty-odd Arab poets, Francophone and otherwise, (last year's theme was Latin American poetry), the opening of an exhibition of drawings by Henri Michaux (who died last October) at the Grande Halle de la Villette and a reading by a group of poets on a barge in the canals of La Villette. La Maison de la Poésie, now in its last week of 'hommage' to the poet and dramatist Jacques Audiberti, staged an evening of dedication to the life and work of Pierre Emmanuel, who died of cancer last November at the age of 68, in which the actor Michael Lonsdale ...


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