When he receives the greats
of the world, Jean-Claude Trichet, the 60-year old governor of
the Bank of France since 1993, never loses sight of the two little
glass bookcases on either side of the door to his vast office.
They protect his collection of the complete set of the Pléiade.
Literature has always been his companion, and poetry, a window
to his passion. This year the governor is a member of the Committee
of Honor of the fourth Spring
of Poets, which lasts until Sunday.
Where does this taste for
poetry come from?
I have the impression that it was revealed in childhood, in adolescence,
as must be the case for a majority of the French. I love poetry.
I need it. I am fascinated by the verses that want to last forever,
that aspire for eternity.
Do you yourself write poetry?
I wrote a long, long time ago. Not now.
And you have been published?
Some verses were printed in private reviews, when I was 19-20
You continue to read poetry?
Yes, and I recite it. I think that one must not forget that poetry
was born before writing. It must be recited. The recitals of
poetry in class are very important. Learning poems by heart permits
the language to penetrate to the heart.
Which poets move you?
Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Valéry and among
the more recent, Saint-John Perse or Leopold Sedar Senghor, who
just died. But it is maybe the poems of Baudelaire that I memorize
the best and that therefore mean the most to me, because I make
a very strong link between memory and poetic intensity.
How can there be a link
between your universe and poetry? These two worlds seem to be
There is maybe a little more that one might think. I was very
struck to see to what degree rhetoric plays a fundamental role
in our society: understanding clearly the new challenges we face,
explaining patiently, having the capacity to change opinions.
From my point of view, the source of our communication is poetry;
the powerful ability to drink from this source is something important.
Also, a poem is a text that does not change. The verses must
stand as they are, they must keep their value, that is their
emotional capacity. In a certain manner, in the particular profession
of working at the central Bank, we must also ensure in regulating
the money that it stays unchanged and keep its value, its credibility.
Yet poetry is closer to
liberty, revolt, and disorder. Your world is more a world of
Poetry is everything at once! It is order and disorder. It is
the discipline of verses and their rhythym, and the abounding
spontenaiety of the sentiments that they create. Poetry proves
to us that the ordering of words can, maybe paradoxically, reinforce
the expression of the most vibrant and heartfelt emotions.
At heart, this is what fascinates
you about poetry, its timelessness?
Yes, it is its immemorial character. Realize that Virgil, Dante,
Shakespeare, Villon are still here, and that they tell us magnificent
things now, with verse that lasts, that no power in the world
can change. For me, a poem is an entity that has the ability
to travel through time. And I find it magnificent to feel this
entity so alive, unaltered by the passage of centuries.
Answers gathered by Pierre
Translated by David Sadegh