Master class with Jean Portante

Creative writing theory and practice

      In partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg, we offer you a writing master class in French with Luxembourg writer Jean Portante on the theme of time.
         —     About the master class



In principle, every writer and poet is self-taught. This does not mean that writing a poem, like anything else, cannot be learned. It has its techniques which, while never replacing the desire or the need to express oneself, or the imagination, or a possible gift, enable you to enter into the depths of words and the hidden links between them.

The aim of this master class is to create the conditions for the unexpected to emerge in writing. To get inside words to make them say what they don’t want to say. To create an intimate dictionary, specific to each individual, enabling original weavings that will lead to the poetic text. Let’s not forget, by the way, that text and weave mean exactly the same thing, if we go back to the Latin source. Text is a fabric of words.

To weave, you need several threads which, when intertwined, create the fabric/text. This is where the writing techniques drawn from the baggage of the European and global avant-gardes come into play, as the dawn of the twentieth century saw writing make leaps and bounds. The master class will draw on the contributions of Lautréamont, the Dadaism of Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball, the ready-made of Marcel Duchamp, the Futurism of Marinetti, the Surrealism of Breton and Dalí, the experiments of Kurt Schwitters and John Cage, and the Oulipians who, with Queneau and Pérec, opened up literature to mathematics and its constraints, to playful writing and its astonishing possibilities.

Each participant will be asked to write a number of poems that could be used in a performance-reading, and collected together to ensure that no trace of the experience is lost.

This master class can accommodate a maximum of 15 people. You will receive a confirmation email once your registration has been processed.

from 24 to 28 June 2024
from 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm
Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg
free admission – booking required
         —     About Jean Portante



Jean Portante is a writer, translator, editor, journalist and teacher at the Centre de Langues (now the Institut National des Langues).

Jean Portante was born in Differdange in 1950 to Italian parents. He has lived in Paris since 1983. His work, comprising some forty books – poetry, novels, essays and plays – is widely translated. In France, he is a member of the Académie Mallarmé; in Luxembourg, he is a member of the Institut Grand-Ducal. In 2003, he was awarded the Prix Mallarmé in France for his book L’Étrange langue. In 2011, he was awarded the Prix Batty Weber in Luxembourg for his body of work. His books are published mainly by Castor Astral (France) and Phi (Luxembourg), but also in some twenty other countries. He has been working as a literary translator for over thirty years.

Institut français du Luxembourg

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