today, “flaying the cock, gutting the donkey” – Liberation

The Flight of Planes, Why We Work, Between War and Peace, Western, Logic, Stages of Biology… These beautiful titles which embrace such diverse fields are some of the famous collection of What do i know? published by PUF. To this completely rational encyclopedic ambition, which brings together the latest scientific advances to answer all the questions we are entitled to ask about the world, Pascale Bouhénic adds sensitivity and subjectivity. Because the What do i know? she collects them for their old book appearance, their colorful covers, their evocative titles.

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In her library, she chose 76, which are for her as many “Ways to enter”. Each of the little scholarly books has inspired her with a poem: meditation on the subject treated or triggering a memory, they draw with delicate touches the portrait of the author. History of cinema leads her to a poem that begins with the“Removal of my daughter’s four wisdom teeth”, personal names to unveil the origin of its collection: “When I think about it, there were ‘What do I know?’ with my modest parents / Like all paperbacks, they were annotated / By my father’s handwriting illegible. ” A way of paying homage as much as of diverting this literature which wants to be as positive as possible, to bring out the intimate.

Here is one of the poems from the book.

Human heredity

Welcome to Jujurieux

After a stop in Saulieu

Land of the sculptor Pompon

Who was a pupil of Rodin.

The owner of the restaurant

(Who serves bourgeois cuisine

As in restaurants in the past)

Touch me in a weird place.

Looking at her, she’s a perfect replica

From my dear father

No in his features, it’s understood

But in this maddened manner she has to comment on the menu.

What she does without being asked at all

Taking his time and digressing

Flaying the rooster, gutting the donkey

And the way she tangles the brushes, too long

Without flinching, touch me violently, it’s silly.

I took her in sympathy for it

Looking down at the checkered tablecloth

Already filled with crumbs

(I’m dying of hunger that’s obvious).

Because I inherited these slips, these antics

Of these brutal accidents, of all these words that tumble down

Full speed on the table.

Pascale Bouhénic, 76 ways to enter, the Gallimard Crossbow, 210 pages, € 18.

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