by Aaron Prevots, Southwestern University
In Jacques Réda: Being There, Almost, Aaron Prevots studies the work of this major contemporary French writer since the 1950s—poetry, novels, literary essays, short prose, jazz histories. He particularly examines Réda’s explorations of place, including how the ‘world’s energy’ becomes the ideal dancing partner, poetry incarnate in one’s arms.
Réda embodies ‘being there, almost’ because he wanders with great wisdom yet renounces any glory in this metaphorical dance. He aligns us with the outer world’s rhythms and time’s passage. Fleeting waves of perception create a voluptuous, unified whole. In considering the arc of Réda’s works from 1952-2015, Aaron Prevots locates a progression from post-Baudelairean flânerie to commemoration of childhood, classical antiquity, fellow writers, jazz, physics, swing, theology, and trains.