The inspiration for the work comprising Form of Absence is grounded in the poetical work of France’s poet/philospher Michel Deguy. Deguy’s poem “The Cella Was Empty” (fr.: la cella était vide, it.: la cella era vuota) was the conceptual underpinning of the work’s genesis and eventual material manifestations. Through the patience and kindness of prof. Wilson Baldrige, translator of Deguy’s book of poetry Recumbents and most recently a chapter titled “Reprise de Jumelages” in the forthcoming collective volume: Michel Deguy à l’oeuvre., I was able, through his mediation, to connect with two unpublished works—Antepurgatorio and Timberline—that were dedicated to the project Form of Absence. The poems were subsequently used as muses for the works Antepurgatorio and Antidosis.

 

The Cella Was Empty

Emptiness as it is called
But enshrined
Placed in secrecy within the hollowed arch
would be the part’s absence for a whole
And removed from sight
The renouncement but peacefully hushed
Of possible symbolization

La cella était vide

Le vide comme on l’appelle
Mais enchâssé
Mis au secret dans l’arche évidée
serait l’absence de partie pour un tout
Et soustraite au regard
Le renoncement mais paisiblement tu
À la possible symbolisation

La cella era vuota

Il vuoto come lo chiamano
Ma incastonato
Messo nella segreta dell’arca scavata
sarebbe l’assenza di parte per un tutto
E sottratta allo sguardo
La rinuncia ma pacatamente taciuta
Alla simbolizzazione possibile