[In his photographs] He was a mountain of a man, very big, dark and handsome, square-jawed, earnest for the camera, somewhat imperious. A seer, a prophet, frowning as though accusing the viewer of levity in the midst of the general catastrophe.
Since I was working on my dissertaion, we talked about academe; we agreed that the university was covered in dust.
Of his friend Camus, to whom the wartime journal Leaves of Hypnos was dedicated, Char said, Camus knew that words could demoralize. He realised after the war that The Stranger had had a demoralizing effect. That's why he wrote The Plague. We were friends because both of us recognized that writing imposes duties, it does not grant rights.
We talked about the brutality of the Luberon, the mountainous region where he was a Resistance fighter during the war. We talked about meteors, snakes, insomnia. When he couldn't sleep, he used his nights to illustrate, by candlelight, the book he was about to publish, The Talismanic Night that Shone in its Circle. [...]
Yet even during that warmest of encounters, my friendship with Rene Char felt as fragile as a goldfinch. [...]
And he had another bone to pick with critics. The trouble is, he said, that critics want to find a plot in poetry. But poetry has no plot, no continuous development like a novel. Poems are inscriptions made here and there, on scattered rocks (he was standing, miming this). [...]
As Helen Vendler once remarked to me, 'One feels Char writes with absolute candour, but in a secret language'.
from Nancy Kline, Meeting Rene Char