Welcome to Chandrabhaga poetry festival 2021, the seventh edition of the poetry festival.
Given the impact of pandemic on the lives of marginalized masses and migrants, this festival will bring together diverse voices from various parts of India and celebrate the poetry of Odisha and the World as well. It will also provide a platform for some insightful discussions on Framing the Marginalized in Poetry & challenges of reimagining the post-Covid world. More than 70 poets & writers from India and the World are participating in the festival.
When: 9th & 10th January 2021
Where: Online, on Google Meet
I met Philippe Airgrain in Paris in 2019. I was on a post-doctoral research fellowship awarded by FMSH (Foundation Maison des Sciences de L'homme) Paris. My friend, Guilhem Fabre introduced me to Philippe when one evening we had all congregated at La Maison de la poesie to attend a poetry reading by Guilhem and a famous Chinese poet living in exile in Paris, Ma Desheng . On my way back, after the reading, Philippe and I began to talk about a lot of things - society, culture, poetry, and the topic of my research at CEIAS ( Centre d'Etudes de I'Inde et de I'Asie du Sud). When we were about to depart and go our own ways to places of our residences, Philippe invited me to meet his wife, Mireille, and offered to cook dinner for me the next day. He had cooked a lovely dinner, quite French, with some fruits as dessert. I had reached his house in time and quite easily. His house was fabulous - beautiful in every sense. Meeting Mireille was a joyful experience too. The evening we spent together was full of discussions again. Philippe had invited another writer friend who knew quite a bit about India. I am sure it was to make me comfortable that he invited her over.
Philippe was a poet who wondered about the world he was living in. As a poet, perhaps, he wanted to experience the world in its stark newness. "There is always more to this world than we know as there is so much more to us than we get to experience", he said. He was a poet of plenitude, ontological plenitude, I thought. It was with this understanding that I approached his poetry as I read more of it later.
I invited him to read his poems at the Chandrabhaga Poetry Festival, Konark, Odisha, India, this year in January. He did join us and read some beautiful poems in the session of French poets along with Guilhem Fabre, Quallet Yves, Lara Dopff, and Jean Baptiste. I was very happy to see him with his fellow poets from Paris. It made that session quite special. Little did I know then that Philippe would pass away so soon after while trekking in the mountains. It has left me quite shocked and sad. Clearly, he had to live for many more years. This is no condolence note that I have written, it is a way to deal with the sense of loss I feel about his passing away. He certainly had to return to our festival with his new poems in 2022. His poetry remains with us and his polite smile, a dominant feature of his countenance would have had to appear on the screen..
Rest in peace Philippe Airgrain. Your friends will always think of you as a lovely man, a friendly man, forever wondering, what does friendship mean as you often thought what poetry was after all!
Philippe, depuis ta chute, ton visage nous hante, est-ce ainsi que la vie s’enfuit si brutalement ? Les souvenirs d’un long voyage se mêlent à nos rêves communs, aux combats de l’intelligence, à la matière des mots et des sens.
« Du monde », écris tu le 15 avril de cette année, « quelque chose de vivant nous parvient, traversant la nuit, un autre récit s’est remis à trembler, s’élance de lien en lien »…
Ce sont ces liens des mots qui vivent pleinement et nous renvoient ton regard, après le grand basculement. Ainsi dans ce quatrain, sous une belle photo en gros plan presque abstraite :
quel présent inouï
qu’au détour des pas
celui de l’écorce
fendue de ce hêtre
Et ailleurs : « nous sommes nos fissures intérieures » (Fissures 4).
Oui, c’est bien ainsi, comme dans ton poème :
révèle les chemins
de ce qui craque en nous
jetant ce filet
dans la houle
du temps furtif
nous y recueillons
la vague d’un regard
le battement manqué
la précieuse brulure
et la brise portante
de ce qui se dit à plusieurs
C’est ce parcours très personnel et marqué par le partage, qui n’a pas fini de nous étonner et de nous nourrir. Peu d’humains, aujourd’hui, vivent ces valeurs qui nous sont chères depuis les sociétés primitives, à la fois sur le plan de l’intelligence, de la sensibilité et de la langue, notre propriété la plus commune, que tu illustres encore dans ce poème :
du souvenir révé la mémoire intacte
empreinte de cendre mirage d’absolu
récit inentamé remembrance d’ombre
espérance fraiche célébrant l’ à venir
songerie de nos cœurs inaltérée tendresse
chronique si pure célébrant l’utopie
Et tes paysages aimés nous rapellent tes quatrains inspirés de la poésie des Tang, comme celui de Li Bai, qui nous renvoie comme en écho cette quête quotidienne de la beauté, que tu nous laisses en partage :
DU CŒUR DE LA MONTAGNE, REPONSE A UN TERRIEN :
Pourquoi habitez-vous dans les Monts Émeraudes ?
Sans réponse je ris, le cœur en paix
Les fleurs de pêchers coulent au fond des ondes
Il y a un autre monde au-delà des humains