La Tour de Feu no. 82. Paris, June 1964. 23 x 13.5 cm. Off-white wrappers with text in grey and pink.

A self-described “International Review of Poetry” (“Revue Internationale de Creation Poetique”), La Tour de Feu  features what may be the first article in French about the Internationale Situationniste. While there is evidence of earlier articles in other languages, for instance in Dutch in Forum, we believe that Rene Lourau’s “Le Poete devant les Institutions” is the first (substantial) article written about the movement in France, at least outside the confidential Lettrist/Situ milieu [our friend Ian Thompson appropriately notes that Estivals wrote 11 pages about the SI in Grammes 4 in 1959, while Isou wrote another 136 pages in Poesie Nouvelle 13 the following year)

In this brief article (pp. 123-129), Rene Lourau discusses the oppositional rapport between the Poet and (social, religious, political) institutions, as expressed through form. According to Lourau, a desire to obliterate the very language of poetry – what he sees as”the most extreme extension of the Symbolists’ perspective -begins with the Futurists, ahead of Dada and the Surrealists. The Lettrists and, ultimately, the Situationists follow in their footsteps. Specifically, Lourau mentions the SI’s use of techniques like industrial painting and detournement, as well as their belief in a new urbanism.

A kind reader added the following: “It should also be noted that the S.I. thought little of this article, going so far as to refer to it in the article ‘Pour ne pas comprendre l’I.S’ in issue no. 10 of their journal (page 68): “Et plus mal encore, par exemple, dans l’article élogieux mais inintelligent qu’un lapassadiste, René Lourau, avait cru devoir consacrer à l’I.S. dans le no. 82 de la revue Tour de Feu.” Debord also dismissed Lourau and his article in a letter of 16 May 1966 (reproduced in Debord, Correspondance vol. 3)”

Finally, the article is mentionned in Raspaud & Voyer 141, under the section “quelques echos dans la presse et la librairie”.

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