When Socrates Converses with Erato

recisely the reason why the present critic is not surprised at all reading the latest anthology by Elie Fleurant, The Eyes of the Night. For he already knew that the creator can implant himself in his pathos with all his soul and still objectify reality, approach the forms and manifestations of the True and the Beautiful as being the ideals of the human spirit in its quest of the Infinite and the fullness of real existence.

The Eyes of the Night invites us to interrogate. What happens when the rigor of philosophical reflection penetrates deep into the cave of poetry? What happens when Socrates tries to match his sophisms with the unbridled dreams and imagination of Erato, the Muse of lyric poetry? Does this invasion of philosophy impoverish or enrich the poetic aesthetic, or is it pure provocation on the part of Elie Fleurant to tell us that the Muse can still graze in the pastures of Realism?

It is a bold, even daring, enterprise, just as it is new and original. There is a reality which underlines this collection of writings: the emergence of this diaphanous poetry is an intellectual, spiritual, and new adventure that is going to consecrate the birth of a new genre in literary writing, in poetic mysticism, towards the promised land of an aesthetic of boldness.

It is impossible not to hear Plato proclaiming:

“When you look at the stars, O you my star,

I would like to be the sky

And gaze at you with my thousand eyes.”

The epistemological revolution of Kant placed the subject as an object of knowledge. Elie Fleurant wishes to have the reader believe that faith in the creative power of words and perceptions fundamentally defines the adventure of philosophy in the ethereal universe of poetic art. With philosophy, poetry becomes knowledge of the Real. Poetry becomes rational. Even dreams find their redemption in the epistemological evocation of virtual realities and interiorities that fascinate and enchant…

Poems such as “Bird of the Twilight”, “I think therefore I am violence””, “The Shroud of Darkness”, or “Beauty of Night” etc. show that Elie Fleurant’s inspiration delivers poetic art from all the conventions of romantic escape, pure fantasy and the unreal to attain the True and the Beautiful. It is philosophy that allows us to see the soul and inner spirituality, or in other words, “subjective interiority”. Elie Fleurant calls this new school, DIAPHANISM: a school of humanism, of “social harmony”, as he defines it, “ of reason and of conscience”.

In the clothes of philosophy, Elie Fleurant’s inspiration is revealed at the source of the most carnal reality. Philosophy also has a power of transfiguration and dramatization, similar to poetic inspiration. The fog of philosophic discourse is dissipated through brilliance, a shining light emanating from the poet’s linguistic skill. Fleurant speaks “diaphanous poetry”…

The philosophical ambition of the poet as well as the poetic ambition of the philosopher, have bestowed a particular dimension upon the translucent poetry of Elie Fleurant, where we see man in his weakness, art in its boundless horizons and society in its dreadful illusions.

Certain commentators have said that the reign of philosophy in modern times has troubled writers who had felt a need to strive toward reflection. Even painters have dabbled in philosophy with their brushstrokes, their speckled palettes and their symbols, like Cezanne’s apples or Van Gogh’s kitchen chair, or, speaking of the poet’s native land, Gesner Armand’s pigeons.

There is also the aesthetic of engagement, in the strict Sartrian sense of the word. My Odyssey in Havana and Vox Populi are two poems written with a pen dipped in the red ink of anti-imperialism and anti-war; they are arrows shot into the heart of a system of oppression.

The poet’s elegance sparkles in the naked eye for the delight of lovers of words; in fact, it is he who has seen the “Sphinx of Homer and the Alpha of Eluard” in his poem entitled, “Enigma of my equation”.

Fleurant hailed The Black Messiah in Toussaint Louverture as he opens his heart to The Beauty with Sleeping Eyes for whom he has “fashioned the silhouette and harmony of his quilt… the beauty who disappears under the foamy folds of ivory”.

This latest collection of Elie Fleurant, poet-philosopher, well deserves the time to be read.

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