“The marvelous awaits our eyes”

“The marvelous awaits our eyes”

From his crossing of the Celtic seas, the adventurous author delivers a fabulous story, With the Fairies, an ode to the beauty of the world which invites wonder.

Should we weigh anchor to go hunting for fairies?

Sailing allowed us to avoid the coasts made ugly by concrete. Thanks to cabotage, I could access coves preserved in their wildness, walk the virgin ribbon of cliffs, meditate on a promontory, re-embark. I said to my captain Benoît: “Leave me at the menhir, and you will take me back to the dolmen 12 kilometers higher!”

A true luxury. You haven’t chosen just any sea for your quest!

When you are interested in fairies, you have to visit their cradle, the landscapes where the marvelous became a literary genre. So, from the promontories of Galicia to those of Scotland, via Brittany, England and Ireland, I explored the Celtic arc in the wake of King Arthur and Merlin the enchanter.

Fairies, is that the name you give to your quest?

I did not set out in search of Morgane but to look at the world with deference, to grasp its essence in the folds of the earth, the light and the sea. What I call the fairies is the emergence of the beauty, the sudden burst of light between the spray. You still have to be on the lookout. Because the signal emerges without announcing itself, it awaits the eye, the disposition of the gaze.

Are you looking for this signal in the tension of the elements?

The clash of the elements is more conducive to the emergence of wonder than a soft plain harassed by drizzle. I am looking for the conditions necessary for its appearance. Where the sea, land and sky confront each other, facing the promontories of cliffs which embody the conflict between the death of the continent and the shock of the ocean.

You make a difference between wonder and grace…

The marvelous emanates from things, it is born from the encounter with real beauty. Conversely, grace overlooks the world, it comes from the Creator. During this three-month journey, my astonishment was such that I did not feel the need to wonder about the puppeteer at work. You have to proceed chronologically. First revere what emanates, later perhaps I will be interested in who is responsible for this emanation.

Precisely, in Chrétien de Troyes, Christianity meets Celtic paganism!

I love this companionship between the magic of the Breton forests and evangelical love, I find this absorption richer than replacement. Literature created Arthur by drinking from Celtic springs and the chalice of Christ. Twelfth-century chivalry needed a unifying figure, and this imaginary king intertwined the traditions. The quest for the Grail does not oppose the radiance of the sacred woods. The fairy backed away from the cross, but the ordeal did not kill the menhir.

Is seeking the marvelous resisting? What repels you about this century?

Fairies symbolize the decline of the dark forces that surround our time. They illustrate the fight against the desiccation of souls, galloping urbanization, the empire of statistics, technical influence, submission to this abomination which reduces man to a few numerical notions. When the fairy appears, this whole awful proposition recedes. The less it captures, the more fairies there are.

So you go looking for what still stands?

I like movement for myself and the stillness of things. Physical circulation and what remains. To resolve this contradiction, I set out to recognize permanent forms, explore and connect what holds up. I like to sit at the foot of a menhir or a cross, these ancient landmarks give me a feeling of peace in the face of epilepsy which is taking over our time.

You like stacks, these solitary pillars which resist the removal of the coast. Like you!

Look at the Étretat needle. The cliff receded, the needle remained. Wherever there is a cliff in the world, there is a stack; a system, its contradiction; a dogma, an opposition; a society, a dissident. The stack is the geological embodiment of the rebel. It’s a form that attracts me even if I don’t have the vanity to compare myself to it. Let’s say that I am more inspired by the stack that resists than by the swamp.

As a result, some place you in the camp of the backward-looking…

I want to belong there. I prefer to marvel at what remains rather than kneel before the obligation to innovate. Not everything that changes is necessarily better. I proclaim it by singing about animals, flowers, nature, rocky peaks, the great miracle of the world, Romanesque chapels and Gothic cathedrals. It’s not a crime. There is no need to slander me by saying that I belong to extreme movements.

Looking back, how did you experience having your sponsorship of the Spring of Poets called into question?

Without wishing to dismiss this controversy, it is only the mood of two thousand people who gang up against one, in the name of tolerance. The term extreme right with which they give me is terrible in that it gives you a stamp of infamy and prevents the possibility of pleading. It is not new that the great champions of openness use padlocking instruments. When I talk about the migrations of the Celts, who came to die on the western promontories watching the sun set, and when I rejoice that paganism mixed with Christianity, I express a political point of view that is the opposite. of what I am accused of. More generally, we are experiencing the end of debate and nuance. What else can we expect in the face of the digital ecstasy that has taken hold of our contemporaries? All words are worth it, can circulate in the same tube. The social network promotes the rise of evil passions. My voice of protest is escape. I’m not harming anyone, I’m leaving. My position is that of the traveler.

But can the poet remain outside the world?

The best way to kill poetry is to try to theorize it. I even believe that the world does not need poets to be poetic. Victor Hugo showed that you could poetize politics and politicize poetry, but Mallarmé produced verses that were just a veneration of the musicality of language. The Illuminations of Rimbaud are not all political, the Enamels and cameos nor by Théophile Gautier. Poetry will survive the poets. In Spring too.

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