Calendar of poets (extract)
(Paris, c. 2001)

April 1
 Having invented the “poem du jour” form, Jacques Jouet today 
begins a journal of poems.
 In the palm grove, there is a blue cup.

April 2
 Certain details indicate that Mr. Tchoulkatourine died some time 
during the previous night.
 Victor Segalen, Gilber de Voisins, and the prefect of Zhao Hua 
meet in the tomb of Bao San naing in the province of Sè tchouan. 
Segalen takes photographs.
 François-René Chateaubriand publishes this day a description 
of Niagara Falls in Atala.

April 3
 Ettore Schmitz Promises For the last time To stop smoking.
 Voltaire and the president of Brosses are received at the Academy 
of Dijon.
 Samuel Johnson begins work on the second volume of his Dictionary, 
leaving space for the preface, the grammar, and the history, none 
of these chapters having yet been started.

April 4
 Monsieur de Marivaux reads his Reflections to the Académie 
français in the form of a letter on the human spirit.
 A new cinematographic series is launched with Une aventure 
de Bout de Zan, a film by Louis Feuillade.
 After reading Soloviev’s History, Tolstoy jots in his notebook: 
“One comes to the conclusion, despite oneself, that the history 
of Russia is composed of monstrosities.”

April 5
 Marshall Canrobert, dining at the Princess’s, has gout in his 
hand; nonetheless, he jauntily entertains the guests with 
a description of Marshall Lauriston’s death “on the field of honor 
of love.”
 The group that would later be called the Cultivating Planters’ 
Pacific Olive Tree Project is founded this day, as attested 
by a letter from Dubeau to Father Enfantin.

April 6
 On this 15 clinamen 77 E.P., Irénée-Louis Sandomir, in his 
inaugural Harangue, announces the birth of the College 
of ‘Pataphysics.
 From Saturday night until Sunday morning, 25 Molotov cocktails 
go off around town. Today, a still blazing Alhambra, an Institut 
that’s nothing but a sad, smoking ruin, a Saint-Louis Hospital 
gaily flaming away, and not a wall still standing.
 The Charterhouse of Parma hits the bookstores today.

April 7
 Ludwig van Beethoven, age 16, goes to Vienna to work with Mozart.
 Dostoevsky attends the banquet of the “petrachevists” (partisans 
of the socialist and anarchist Petrachevski), which is given 
in honor of Fourier.
 Walter Benjamin sets sail on the Catania, which he’d taken 
six years earlier, bound for Barcelona, and from there to Ibiza. 
It looks like the weather could get rough.

April 8
 Luster, in leaving, looks for the last time at the flower 
drooping over Ben’s fist, then leaves.
 Delacroix is working on the painting Hercule attachant Nérée. 
Over Hercules, he puts a wash of vermillion, magenta, light zinc 
yellow, and a silvery violet-green. Over Nérée, light zinc yellow, 
magenta, cobalt, and Prussian blue. He touches the light, muted 
tones with a shade of pale rose-orange mixed with a shade of 
silvery violet-green, zinc yellow, and a mauve that’s lighter 
than the one he used for the wash.
 In the city of Meung, where the author of the Roman de la rose 
was born, the young d’Artagnan cuts a startling figure on a bizarre 
nag that looks like Don Quixote’s Rossinante.
 In Boston, Henry James speaks in the past tense about his novel 
The Bostonians, which he has not yet starting writing.

April 9
 A son is born nine hours and fifteen minutes after midnight 
to the Jouberts. The father, in noting the fact, comments: that he 
might one day remember the suffering of his mother! On the same day, 
he also notes that he heard a cock crowing.
 In her prison cell in the Barminstrasse, Rosa Luxemburg is reading 
a geology book and learns that, in a clay layer in Sweden, they’ve 
found traces of a brief downpour that fell millions of years ago.
 According to the instructions in his will, the body 
of Hermann Raffke, brewer and noted amateur painter, is stuffed 
by the greatest taxidermist in the world, brought in specially 
from Mexico, and then is propped up in the chair in which he posed 
for the henceforth famous painting by Heinrich Kürz, titled 
A Connoisseur’s Collection.

April 10
 A daybreak on his seventieth birthday, Tang Zhen toasts himself 
by drinking the rest of the wine. He then reflects that perhaps 
congratulations are not in order as he is much closer to his death 
than to his birth. But then he tells himself that though his hair 
may have changed and his teeth fallen out, his spirit has remained 
the same, vibrant and vigorous. “Today, at seventy, is the time 
to pull out all the stops.”
 Emmanuel Hocquard sees Manhattan as a city or a little island.

April 11
 The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race by Alfred Jarry 
is published today in Le Canard sauvage.
 Alfred de Musset converses with a Mandarin with painted eyebrows 
and fingernails eighteen inches long whose only exercise consists 
in trailing his gaze sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, 
with a half-smile.

April 12
 Between Malebranche and Locke in the library of Miss Shepheard 
(known as Léonora), you’ll find a certain number of novels—
Cleopatra, Cassandra, Le Grand Cyrus, and Clélie, which falls open, 
when you open it, at the scene of the two lovers meeting 
in the grove.
 A review by Eneas Sweetland Dallas appears in the Times, “There 
can be no mistake about Adam Bede. It is a first-rate novel, 
and its author takes rank at once among the masters of the art.”
 In the streets of Paris, the people follow Voltaire, cheering 
him and calling him the Calas’s man.

April 13
 At four-seventeen in the afternoon, with the sea beautiful 
and the breeze gentle, the Cunard Company’s Scotia, suffers a 
collision that tears a perfectly even isosceles triangle in its 
hull below the waterline.
 Handel’s servant, lacking tobacco for his pipe, mitigates 
his boredom by blowing soap bubbles through it.

April 14
 Paul Klee walks through the cemetery at Hammamet, which 
stretches, unwalled, along the sea. Around him, cacti, unveiled 
young girls, and a camel. The camel, above all, gives him a sense 
of stopped time.
 During the night, an earthquake swallowed Elfrida de Monte 
Salerno’s palace. That noble and arrogant lady had openly boasted 
about possessing a veritable paradise, which is what, according 
to Pope Pius III, turned the place into a haunt of the devil.
 Jacques Roubaud gives his fourth lesson, Le fils de Leoprepes, 
at the Villa Gillet.

April 15
 Emily Dickinson writes: “Mr. Higginson, Are you too taken up 
by your occupations to tell me whether or not my Verses Live.”
 Cézanne repeats his earlier statement to Emile Bernard—that 
nature must be dealt with in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, 
and the cone.
 Three baggage carts wallow down the flooded road. They’re 
carrying the new pastor’s domestic effects to Hukelum.


April 16
 Valery Larbaud is in bed with a fever and Byron’s Don Juan. 
During the night while asleep, he recites the most banal 
stupidities in perfect byronian stanzas.
 The first Dada exhibition takes place at the bookstore Le Sans 
 Near Vechta, there are compasses that also keep time.

April 17
 Monsieur de Kératry uses the word “démodé”; it is the first time 
it is pronounced in France.
 At Madame Necker’s, seventeen venerable philosophers, after 
having invoked the Holy Spirit and dined and discussed with abandon, 
unanimously decide to erect a monument to Monsieur de Voltaire.
 Mary Shelley finishes the final draft of Frankenstein.

April 18
 George Eliot starts writing Janet’s Repentance at St. Mary’s 
in the Scilly Isles.
 Cao Xueqin remaries just a few years before his death—three 
or four; no one’s sure of the date of his death, but that of his 
second marriage is confirmed by two coffers whose decorations, 
both written and drawn, form a whole: on one side, a poem 
dedicated to his new wife; on the other, the date of the poem: 
“day shangsi of the year gengchen, the twenty-fifth of the 
Qianlong era.”

April 19
 Pontormo paints the head in with the rocks behind. He dines 
on nine ounces of bread, a cod roe, and a salad. It all makes 
him a bit lightheaded.
 With the capital (New York) surging overhead, Walt Whitman 
contemplates the great bronze statue at dusk, when the setting sun 
gleams on its head and crown, making it dazzle like a huge, 
strange star.
 The Raymond-Queneau Library at Juvisy-sur-Orge is inaugurated.

April 20
 Zola, needing to research art dealers and connoisseurs for his 
projected novel L’Oeuvre, asks Antoine Guillemet for an hour 
of casual chat.
 Terrasse, Fénéon, Vallette, Rachilde, and several others are 
invited to a day of celebration (with victuals and potables) put on 
by Alfred Jarry at his retreat along the canal.

April 21
 Referring to the election of Ampère to the Académie française, 
Hugo notes in his journal: “Progress slow, but academies, like 
the elderly, advance in small steps.”
 Leonard de Vinci starts a new notebook and goes back to working 
on the horse for an equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza.
 Paul-Jean Toulet writes to himself: “Dear Master, the respectful 
silence of Bruges reminds me too vividly of that which strikes me 
in your presence when, once again, I cannot bring myself to express 
to you the singular admiration I feel for your beautiful talent.”

April 22
 While waiting for his baggage to come off the train that had just 
brought him from Brignoles, Gide suddenly senses, like an vision, 
the beginning of his novel The Counterfeiters. It’s going to start 
with the sentence: I’ll bet you’re traveling without a ticket.
 Nietzsche composes a vocal quartet with piano, which he titles 
Sunny Days of Autumn. 
 Lovers in the Metro by Jean Tardieu is produced at the Lancry 
 At Heaven’s reception desk, the official fills in the pre-printed 
form addressed to Hell: “An individual of the name of Shakespeare 
has this day presented himself at our office.”

April 23
 A boxing match in Madrid brings Jack Johnson, champion of Europe, 
face to face with Arthur Craven, champion of France and poet, who 
is knocked out in the first round.
 On this day in the Echo de Paris, Monsieur Ubu announces to Achras 
that he has invented ‘Pataphysics.
 At the town hall of Nantes, the honorable Morlierre (sic) humbly 
asks the members of the council to allow actors to put on their 
 Roman Opalka is sitting on a fur cushion in the center of the 
floor of his studio. He has reached 3,455,207.

April 24
 At La Rochelle, an anonymous fugitive seeking a way out of France 
promises the captain of a ship 200 thalers for each of the five 
people that he will bring to him, thus 1000 thalers in all.
 The Citizen Army (Connolly) supported by a handful of Irish 
volunteers (Pearse) takes over the main Dublin post office and 
proclaims the Republic. 
 Towards evening, Roland Barthes runs through a cold rain 
to catch the #58.

April 25
 The warbler, well known to Madeleine de Scudéry, returns 
to the grove today, as is its habit.
 At the sale of Madame Hanska’s estate, the manuscript of Eugénie 
Grandet slips through the Viscount of Lovenjoul’s fingers, 
having been auctioned off at two thousand francs to Baron Cahen 

April 26
 Towards one in the morning, Samuel Johnson writes to God: “If you 
have assigned my spouse to keep a watch over me, allow me to enjoy 
some of the good effects of her attentions [ . . . ] in the form 
of apparitions, impulses, dreams, or any other manifestation that 
your judgement finds agreeable.” 
 Raymond Queneau testifies in favor of Isidore Isou at his trial; 
the latter is accused of violating public morality with his book 
La Méchanique des femmes.
 In an inn in Dordrecht, the young René Descartes disputes Lulle’s 
Ars parva with a learned man who prides himself on being able 
to argue a point for a full hour, and then switch and take 
the opposing argument for another hour. 

April 27
 Balzac is incarcerated in the Hotel des Haricots for having 
several times shirked his duties in the National Guard.
 Georges Perec is at parachuting school at Camp Astra, 
near Pau in the lower Pyrenees.
 An imperial decree orders all Chinese functionaries to send 
their province’s most literate people to the capital.

April 28
 The King’s agents search the ship, but the fugitives aren’t found. 
And then a favorable wind, toward 11 or 12 pm, carries them far 
from the enemies of truth.
 King Henry orders that “twenty-five écus be paid in cash to our 
dear and beloved sire of Sponde.”
 Geoffroy Tory and Gilles de Gourmont present their Champ fleury.

April 29
 Queneau finishes his long poem L’Explication des métaphores.
 Like the day before, at two o’clock in the morning, Victor Hugo 
hears three sharp knocks; the sound makes him think of three lashes 
of the whip landing on his bed post.

April 30
 Annibal de Coconnas and Boniface de La Mole are decapitated 
in the Place de Grève for trying to help Henri de Navarre escape 
from the Louvre, where he is held captive. Mathilde de La Mole 
appears, that evening, in deep mourning; Julien watches her 
in astonishment.
 On his desert island, Robinson Crusoe notices that his supply 
of biscuits is diminishing rapidly and decides to limit himself 
to one biscuit a day, which grieves his heart deeply.