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A Poetic Street Sign Encounter in the City of Light

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

Avenue Sully-Prudhomme

Last week, I spent two days exploring the glorious streets of Paris in the emerging bloom of spring. As I wound my way through the city’s arrondissements toward the Eiffel Tower, I serendipitously stumbled upon this street sign honoring the French poet Sully Prudhomme.

I’d never even heard of the Nobel laureate until reading Xavier Le Pichon's essay "Ecce Homo." In it, Le Pichon shares Prudhomme’s poem Le Vase Brisé (“The Broken Vase”), which his mother taught him, and relates the poem to his mother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease.

We commissioned Jean Luc Garneau to recite Prudhomme’s poem, both in English and French. I highly recommend listening.

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