unfinished

Georges Limbour/ Soleils bas


Georges Limbour/ Soleils bas
Les bergers sans moutons
à Max Jacob
Nous sommes d’un pays

qui n’a pas d’arbres fruitiers

Nos mains ont pressé le lait

du sein de la cornemuse

Nos cœurs saignent dans les mûriers

pourquoi nos sœurs sont-elles laides

si les légendes nous abusent
Nous clouons les papiers blancs

des bouquetières du midi

sur les croix des cerfs-volants

aux migrations indéfinies

A ces cœurs mal équilibrés

Toute la plaine se suspend

en avant-garde ils guidereaient

des peuplades d’ambulants.
Herbes rases séchées sans même de troupeau

Vous fleurissez très haut ces cœurs vains de papier

Trainant comme un regret leur queue de bigoudis

qui n’ont dans le sommeil frisé de chevelure

en ce morne pays rougé de roussissures.
Notre vie est penchée ainsi que des fumées

nos gestes de sonneur n’énervent pas le ciel

Tels des bouquets noyés nos cerfs-volants dérivent

et le monde paraît les suivre.
(Gallimard,1932,1970)
This little collection contains the remarkable ‘Soleils bas’ (Low-hanging suns) suite of poems, followed by assorted poems and stories from 1919-1968.

‘Soleils bas’ was published as early as 1924 and so preceeds the quarrels between A.Breton and G.Limbour. It is a fine example of “écriture automatique” which was of the trademarks of the French surrealists in those days.
Georges Limbour was an early ‘adopter’ of Surrealist poetry and prose, shortly after World War I.

He was a member of the Surrealist Movement in Paris during the 1920s, but was expelled in 1929. Before his association with André Breton and the Surrealists, Limbour co-edited, along with Roger Vitrac and René Crevel, the avant-garde review Aventure (1921–22). Later, he contributed to Georges Bataille’s journal Documents (1929–30), and, with a number of other dissident ex-surrealists, signed the anti-Breton pamphlet ‘Un Cadavre’.

This pamphlet was arranged by a number of disaffected surrealists, sharply criticizing the movement’s leader, André Breton, in response to criticism Breton made in his Second Surrealist Manifesto. The manifesto, published in December 1929, directly criticized certain members of the movement and attempted to set the course for future group activities.

The Second Manifesto attacked individuals who were already moving away from Breton, and can be regarded both as his way of formalizing the break and attacking Georges Bataille, who he feared was starting an anti-surrealist movement. The pamphlet ‘Un Cadavre’ contained short essays by a number of those Breton criticized, many of whom he had formally expelled from the movement for reasons seemingly contrary to its goals, which in hindsight appear to be more a result of his famously imperious pride. For example, according to the Second Manifesto, the prose writer Georges Limbour was expelled for “literary coquetry in the worst sense of the word,” a reason that emphasizes Breton’s rigid disdain for literature, as opposed to poetry. Another major reason for division in the group was its increasingly politicized position, which tended toward Marxism.

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