Esther Tellermann: Mental Ground


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All Esther Tellermann’s poetry – from the first line of her first book: “time had the slowness of not-yet-asleep” – is an ongoing hermetic journal of travels, possibly to real places, but certainly to “the mind’s other country.” It takes the reader on an impossible quest for meaning, for the ideal, for the elusive “central point” where we would be one with the world. The poetry is, in itself, an extraordinary answer to its own question: “how live/ in the ordinary?”

Esther Tellermann was born in 1947. She is an agrégé of letters and teaches in Paris, where she lives. Flammarion has published her five books of poetry: Première apparition avec épaisseur (1986), Trois plans inhumains (1989), Distance de fuite (1993), Pangéia (1996), Guerre extrème (1999) and will bring out her new volume, Encre plus rouge, in February 2003. Mental Ground [“Terre mentale”] is taken from Guerre extrème.

She is currently working on a novella and serving on the editorial board of the psychoanalytical review La Célibataire.

I read, on page 49, Nothing will be disclosed/ but stone to dissolve/ at the border…. And it was then that I had to return to poem one and begin reading again to be within the poetry…and with my next breath moist on the window, I was released again, as I am by great poetry to travel within my life…. poems like these allow people like me, and you, access, free and open, to other real realms.

–Michael Basinksi, Basinski Book Reviews (November 2002)