Jacques Roubaud, p.5


“Poetry saying what it says by saying it does not say something, according to you. It does not say something outside of itself, this, or that. From which it can be easily concluded (according to opinion, perhaps my own) that it is nothing. But I suppose that you don’t necessarily believe that.”
“I don’t.”
“To ‘poetry says nothing’ you’ve added (and I quote) ‘poetry says.’ You add nothing further?”
“I do. Poetry does not say “something” but sumpn. Let’s call what poetry says but what cannot be said sumpn.”
“Can it be shown?”
“So, it’s not said, not shown – is it kept silent? Is poetry a silence?”
“Only a public silence.
Poetry keeps nothing silent.

But let us move on.
Many people, who confusedly feel that sumpn is not ‘something’ that could be said, find poetry saying sumpn an absurd activity, and poems nonsense.”
“Can you tell me anything else about sumpn?”
“I can, this: Sumpn is the inner shadow of poetry caught in poems.”
“Say that again.”
“Sumpn is a je ne sais quoi.
‘Nothing’ could be a name for Sumpn, on the condition that ‘everything’ is too.”