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The Originality and the Freedom of Expression in Felix Nicolau Poetry
essay [ ]

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by [cam ]

2007-11-10  |   

Literary Translation - Translations of classic and original poetry and other materialsThis text is a follow-up  | 

“The word is spirit as such it illumines – and in the same time transcends – the individual soul and the determined reality that surrounds it; through the word, the experience’s chaos becomes clear.” (Antonio Banfi)

The poetry’s beauty cannot consist into a verdict of taste. Generating the most different reactions, Felix Nicolau poetry carries, obviously joined, imprints of surrealism and symbolism. Taking into account the intensity of expression, its stylized and, especially, subtle architecture, we can enjoy ourselves of some expressionist tints. Inevitably, the poetry is confession. Yet the confession in discussion is a mysterious one, meaningly ultra-fragmentary, overhearing inquisitive relations between things and happenings, and truths from the saddest ones. Felix Nicolau style excels through unity into a diversity of representations, remaining strongly built on them even when it sends us beyond, for finding their exposition. The image is the fundamental matter of poetry, and Felix poetry sends us unto the marrow even as a sequel of the imagistic impact. Into a visual image, the truth “touches firmest its goal, if it is concentrated into a sight’s moment, and into the incandescent core of the instantaneity and evidence.” (Georg Friedrich Creuzer) Undoubtedly, here the goal is touched.

The release of the expression from under the logic’s control (“thrust under forty/ kilograms of full moon”), the word itself valuation, often leaving aside its conventional meaning (“square root from island and 7”), the parodyation of some linguistic structures, well-known from the point of view of their sense (“riding a happiness with 4 thick barrels”), are only some features, from the always open list, of Felix Nicolau raciness’. An example of the imaginary freedom’s manifestation, a sensational way of utterance, the poetry in cause is masculine to a high degree, destitute of lamentations and mews (even if the cat seems to be the pet animal):

“I don’t use to defrost all
of a sudden whether it’s spring
to me or not”
(birch tree with bull)

On the basis of a voluntarily simple vocabulary, is created a variety of images, starting with the pragmatic ones (“damn with the medicine bag/ my sex works also with meal-tickets”) and ending with those of a ravishing tenderness (“why should you cry with the light on?/ it’s raining on your back and/ your hands are trembling”) and sensibility (“water-dresses have burst through/ the eye-lashes”).

Not seldom on can see bewildered the reader, in front of the poet’s clever games. His ludic demythisizes and disarms:

“when you point your tongue
at me and down go your masks
I can see the sun in your face
and quickly go blind”

The association of logical incompatible words (“a parsley soul/ with decayed teeth”), the irony, and the noncorformism bring to the poetry an unusual texture, consistent but also coherent. The lack of any pattern is an inciting attribute. Felix Nicolau removes from the expression the disturbing excesses, increasing its imagistic character. He doesn’t use repetitions, being original and spontaneous. Drawing of boundary states, he transforms the imagination into a force that supervenes into reality. Therefore, his fantasy has correspondents into the real world:

“telling fortunes in a worm’s palm
I become conscious of some rather
sharper than longer claws”

The sphere of meanings is more important than the esthetical one. We need a mature eye to see the surplus of content from the inside or from beyond of images. To not be stabilized into routine wording, or clung to the “latest fashion” collocations aren’t Felix preoccupations, moreover inner elements of his artistic personality. Doubtless, popularity isn’t one of his goals. Sensitive at novelty, he freely experiments it. With a considerable psychical force, he contrives to lower the intensity of the reciprocally exclusion relation between communicable and incommunicable, high and deep, between fantastic and real: “on the sky such a palm / gun / drum is unfurling / thickening / stretching…”. Felix Nicolau poetry is clerestory destined to air the literary specie, if not with an innate talent, then with an accuracy of a specialist:

“a peaceful lust resounds in you
(under the skull the wick is wet
and candid)
oh, wonderful opportunity to float
straddling between cellar
and zenith”

Words of popular origin are desined to attenuate the tone’s eventually roughness and to increase the autenticity. We’ll never know if the capital letters, from the beginning of some words, are used for emphasizing something or for confusing us. Felix word has touched its own unity of response, has found an intimate sense. His poetical language reverberates the awaring and the mature acceptance of the antinomy between man and world, and why not, between heart and mind: „the peeled/ Melancholy hangs dripping
…blood dripping on its fur/ the bony ape of my neck/ is sprawling with horned capers”

The exploration of counsciousness and subcounsciousness is accompanied by expeditions into the human body. The dissection takes place live, with a view to find out the cause of a deficient living and also for supporting the occurances pressure. Sometimes, between the lines, it seems that you sense a vague tremor preceding the resignation, aposterioric but necessary:

ribs were predicted
to my chest – and in their
honour I went hoeing
across the field of my liver”

After the trial of deciphering immanent enigmas of the human being, he seems to solve some, but on account of the decision – coming under the excessive poet’s horse sense – of avoiding any kind of harshness, he serves us solutions and keys into a personal, enciphered language. “The body’s shape draws its mystery. What matters the universe’s enigmas as long as we didn’t decipher our ones? Yet, we carry the most troubling enigmas just at the own being surface. As much as empty would be our body, it cloths itself into enigmas”. (Marcel SendrailThe Wisdom of Forms). In Felix Nicolau poetry, the belly can be perceived both as devouring phenomenon (“from the autumn’s bellies/ gushed the owl over/ the wardrobes// large tooth in its beak”) and as a protector one (“look!/ while falling/ the shank hits the belly”), the ribs mean damnation, the liver is affected by emotional lack of balance, the nose climbs unto the sky, lips outline the horizon (“only your lips outlining the sky/ kept me alive”).

The poet perception happens all at once with several senses. He catches unawares the woman in her multiple states and diversions: “the lance-woman slaps me/ kills me and simply takes off” and “look how a poor green woman/ is grazing your solitude and its family” (where “to graze” means “to menace” but also “to feed”). He sees the ugliness hidden under the exterior gilding:

„when you laughed (if you really
did that) your head fell down
in a ditch

a spring head

under your teeth
the golden film of universal
(science and pepsi)

Demolishing preconceived ideas and wriggling the physical space, Felix Nicolau creates a universe that reverberate a sorrowful reality (“my aunt had a tomcat/ that used to purr on the Ceiling/ in the way of her guests”). The poet, juggling with ideas, joggles implicitly with the moods induced to the reader. His poetical language, fetched out of deadlock, transforms the poetry into a continuous surprise (“happiness – another rib”). Often, the free association of words emphasizes the strangeness, the ludic, and the spectacular. Sometimes, Felix scenes look like some dalìnian pictures:

“flocks of curetted cats
were also flying closer and
closer (the scarlet one with a spleen
in its claws)”
(tigers on horses)

Nevertheless, using recurrently some keywords (cat, bull, snake, noon, nape, ribs, button, crest, window, and blue, green, bronze), he interjects, among surrealistic images, symbolistic connotations: “I was riding such a huge cat…// (if one unscrewed its head/
one could realize what a termite was that)”
(tigers on horses). Assigning a relation somehow direct between image and idea, the symbol, even if represents the object of a whole thematic, is offered us for unlocking the poetry’s enciphered message. “The symbol is the word that designates divine manifestations and terrestrial images transfigurations” (Georg Friedrich Creuzer). Only what is really important ought to dress in the “dignity” of symbol, which solicits the entire being and redolent of the existence’s mysteries, only the dearest relationships, the separation, the love, and the hatred. Each symbol reverberate a truth. From the definition that Goethe has given to the symbolic objects, results their property of including a certain totality: “they are out of the common cases that […] arouse in my spirit similar elements but also other strange ones, and thus, seen both from the outside and from the inside, they claim for unity and universality”. In symbolism, the particular represents the universal, as a momentary and alive revelation of the endlessness. According to J.G. von Herder, “in front of a symbol, either well-known to the domain of religion, political organization or historical one, the art appears as a servant, as an assistance as regards some outside purposes”. And from Hegel point of view, the symbol reverberate the incongruence between essence and form, the profusion of content up against its expression.

“a nut tree of solitude
- it’s the apple of your eye
- it’s the quince of your eye
- it’s the tangerine of your eye
- it’s the plum of your eye”
(square root from island and 7)

We can find again all these, just mentioned, meanings of the symbol in Felix Nicolau poetry. Barring the recognized ones, he invests with of symbol value further words (noon, crest, and nape). Being the impulse of giving shape to the internalness, the poetry can find a trustworthy support into the external analogous figures, that are nothing else than symbols.

Felix Nicolau poetry doesn’t indulge in academism, doesn’t pursue an easily consumable form. Through its nature, it is an authentic poetry, in which each word represents a synthesis of live experiences, and the poetical language is a structure equilibrated itself. Consequence of overfulfilled tensions, it draws near that ideal, in which form and content tend unto synonymy.

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