French poet and freedom fighter.
Initially wrote mainly of Provence where he was born, in 1907, where he grew up, and where he still lives. Studied at the lycee in Avignon and
later at the University in Aix. He became known as one of the early surrealist poets.
Then WWII and the Occupation of France, where his experience as leader of a Maquis group of Resistance fighters forever affected his work.1 His
code name in the group was Hypnos (god of Sleep and Dream). The experience of the war channeled his major themes, furnished the substance and many of
the subjects of his later poems. The confusion and terror of Nazi occupation produced in Char a 'rage to compress' into aphorisms and short bursts
- "Word, storm, ice and blood will end in forming a common frost." (Leaves of Hypnos, 58)
- "If man didn't sometimes close his eyes, he would end up no longer seeing what is worth being looked at." (ibid., 103)
- "A meter of entrails to measure our chances..." (ibid., 103)
- "Man, with a somnambulistic step, walks towards murderous mines, led by the song of the inventors." (ibid., 127)
- "Accumulate, then distribute. Of the mirror of the universe be the part that is densest, most useful and least apparent." (ibid., 156)
- Leaves of Hypnos / René Char (NY : Grossman 1973)
- Selected poems of René Char (NY : New Directions Book, c1992)
- The Dawn breakers / René Char (Newcastle upon Tyne : Bloodaxe Books, 1992)
- Hypnos Waking / Jackson Matthews (Random House, 1956)
1The French Resistance
at this time, it should be noded also included Jean-Paul Sartre
, Simone De Beauvoir
and Samuel Beckett
: think of the film potential in that...