“Transformation, Trajectory, and Deleuze in Réda’s L’Improviste”


French poet Jacques Réda’s foundational relation to jazz is clear throughout his work. In particular, the striking blend of poetry and prose in L’Improviste, une lecture du jazz (The Improviser: A Reading of Jazz), foregrounds the primacy of jazz in his writing. Recent readings consider L’Improviste a focal point for examining the convergence of jazz rhythms with the aesthetics of literary portraiture (Didier Alexandre) and Réda’s poetic structure (Eric Prieto), while others see the text as “a realm of memory that surpasses cultural borders” (Aaron Prevots). The multifaceted perspectives these studies open into Réda’s poetics are especially relevant to the monumental series of poems in L’Improviste, “Quatre lettres de Coleman Hawkins” (“Four Letters of Coleman Hawkins”), which span thirty-five years of Hawkins’ career and present what unfolds as a hero’s journey through elements of epic poetry. As such, this study examines how the poet’s improvisational virtuosity charts Hawkins’ creative trajectory over time through multiple structural and thematic approaches that parallel Hawkins’ lyric range, with each of the four poetic ‘letters’ addressed to a different jazz collaborator, each dated according to a milestone recording or event in Hawkins’ life from 1934 to 1969, and each voicing a distinct structure of rhythm, rhyme and images. This study also considers the spatial dimensions of Deleuze and Guattari’s thought, including deterritorialization, lines of flight, and the refrain, to examine Réda’s poetic practice as spatial practice in mapping Hawkins’ aesthetic trajectory

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oaioai:digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu:seccll-1372Last time updated on 10/17/2019

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