I was reading an old interview (late 50’s?) with Blaise Cendrars in the Paris Review this morning. I found this quote quite alluring:
“That’s why I am a poet, probably because I am very sensitive to the language–correct or incorrect. I wink at that. I ignore and despise grammar which is at the point of death, but I am a great reader of dictionaries and if my spelling is none too sure it’s because I am too attentive to the pronunciation, this idiosyncrasy of the living language. In the beginning was not the word, but the phrase, a modulation. Listen to the songs of the birds!”
Cendrars often made a list of all the words he wanted to use in a book before he used them. He was a voracious reader and had a wide dock he set out from. He lugged around the dictionary of Customs Administration in order to find a way to write about Mary Magdalene, “the only woman who made Christ weep.”
The varied context of a word and its form of distribution intrigued Cendrars, fully, and he was hit by the multiple definitions of a word, thus he was allowed a lightness in the density of his work.