Refusal To Be Cast as the Observed 2008 18X24 Acrylic and Pigment Stick by Anna Montgomery

 for Camille Claudel

Mode de vie

‘Men have expelled you
from the world of symbols…’

born of the culture
knowing eyes ready
to absorb aesthetic influence
caught in gender’s ontological ruse
cast as muse

Le artiste (le future)

‘and yet they have given you names…’

Rodin’s model, mistress
influencer, collaborator
sculptor, painter, a creator
but never equal (non pair)

Le mûr age (fermeture)

‘They say the language you speak
is made up of signs that rightly speaking
designate what men have appropriated.’

poverty and obscurity
now cast out these are
your gifts from society
one that finds no place for
‘a revolt against nature:
a woman genius’
you work, you destroy
anger spirals inward

La fatalité (destinée)

‘They say the language you speak
is made up of words
that are killing you.’

committing you
doctor’s try to convince
Paul to let you out
he refers to you
in the past tense

lying in a communal grave
no one claims you

Camille Claudel public domain

Notes: Camille Claudel was a French sculptor and painter. Art critic Octave Mirbeau called her ‘a revolt against nature: a woman genius’. She was a genius destroyed by the concept of gender and her society. ‘Men have expelled you from the world of symbols and yet they have given you names . . . . They write, of their authority to accord names, that it goes back so far that the origin of language itself may be considered an act of authority emanating from those who dominate . . . they have attached a particular word to an object or a fact . . . . They say the language you speak is made up of words that are killing you. They say the language you speak is made up of signs that rightly speaking designate what men have appropriated.’ is from Les Guerilleres by radical French feminist Monique Wittig. Camille Claudel’s surviving masterpiece which dealt with the dissolution of her relationship with Auguste Rodin was called by several names: The Mature Age; The Destiny; the Way of Life; The Fate. After her break with Rodin she fell into poverty and obscurity. Her younger brother Paul had her wrongfully committed to a mental institution where she eventually died and was buried in a mass grave.

The Emplorer by Camille Claudel

Linked at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night #12 – please join us http://dversepoets.com/2011/10/04/openlinknightweek-12/

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