Poiana, P. Neophilologus (2007) 91: 33. doi:10.1007/s11061-006-9003-2
The claim by the 20th Century French poet Saint-John Perse that poetry is essentially a metaphysics invites readers and critics to reflect on the origins of both philosophy and poetry. In taking up this question, this paper focuses on the concept of mimesis from which the ancients derived, among other things, the principles of poetic and artistic production. By examining the way mimesis functions in Saint-John Perse’s Vents, it aims not only to establish the basis for understanding how the poet’s metaphysical claims are realised, but it also throws light on other aspects of his poetic vision, such as his view of cosmic unity, his explicit humanist mission and his much publicised double vocation in politics and poetry. Parallel to this, the paper briefly develops Plato’s, Aristotle’s and Girard’s treatment of mimesis and touches upon Merleau-Ponty’s, Bachelard’s and Nietzsche’s views on poetic expression.