Bachelard Poetry

Gaston Bachelard 1884 – 1962

Between 2016 and 2019 I experienced a revelation of sorts. I discovered the written works of Gaston Bachelard – a modern French philosopher who died in the 1960’s.

Bachelard started off as a scientist philosopher (with part of the Sorbonne named after him) and then turned to examination and contemplation of poetry and poetics.

Bachelard as a new inspiration.

I discovered Bachelard through a chance encounter on the blog of a poet/writer that I visited in my travels. he made a chance remark that piqued my interest, and I immediately set about acquiring all of his translated works (of which there is quite a number). I’ll list the books I now own, in no particular order,

The New Scientific Spirit
The Candle of a Flame
A Psychoanalysis of Fire
Fragments from A Poetics of Fire
The Poetics of Space
Air and Dreams
Water and Dreams
The Right to Dream
Earth and Reveries of Will
Earth and Reveries of Repose
Intuition of the Instant
The Dialectic of Duration
On Poetic Imagination
The Poetics of Reverie

An amazing body of work – not the entirety, though, just the translated material that is easy to get hold of.

Bachelard approached his consideration of poetry and poetics by focusing on a theme – often elemental – and allowing a fill measure of reverie in his method and conclusions, and drawing on his extensive reading of poets and poetry to pursue or make whatever point he was exploring. He was not, himself, a poet, but a great appreciator of written works.

I was entranced from the first lines I read. And writing.

Bachelard’s way of describing the elements of poetry, in a context of reverie, inspired me to write as I never had before. His contemplations transported me off into new directions.

Such a wonderful trigger to creativity!

An early example was this poem – Baitfish Waiting. I see it is actually numbered #1 of the several hundred works I posted ere on the blog. Another that stayed with me was The Hermits of Reading.

Why think of Bachelard, today?

I’m not writing Bachelard inspired poetry anymore. I finished working my way through the books and find that the spark is no longer there. I can’t re-read his work and become inspired all over again. It is done.

What I am doing, though, is collecting all of the poems into a single document and and performing my new-found skill of e-book formatting on them. In a year or so, I envisage a series of poetry collections, and the work of preparation begins with formatting.

There are in excess of 1,700 pages of this work. I really was carried away, I’m thinking, on a poetic reverie that would not stop until my Bachelards had been consumed and pursued and interpreted and stilled to allow examination.

As I have re-encountered familiar titles, I’ve found myself nodding, and smiling, and occasionally a little overwhelmed.

I love these poems – the whole series – and this part of my writing life. I’m so very glad I chance encountered him.

If you’ve read them as I posted here on the blog, I sincerely hope you enjoyed them, as well.


10 thoughts on “Bachelard Poetry

  1. Your description of Bachelard’s work as inspiration, as well as “Baitfish Waiting,” remind me of how I responded to studying the British Romantics in college, being transported just by their idea of poetry trying to express the ineffable. Those giddy heights never made it into my own fiction at the time, as I was all about gritty realism.

    1,700 pages of poetry is a remarkable achievement.

    Liked by 1 person

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