As if it were dictated, so to speak, from “the front lines,” Tent Posts is a book of theoretical urgency by the great Belgian writer.
From the very first line, Michaux warns the reader (and himself as a reader) to prepare for combat, a bodiless, abstract combat learned by daydreaming. He hectors, cajoles, encourages, and entertains us like a grumbling pedant-uncle: “Communicate? You too would like to communicate? Communicate what?...You’re not yet intimate enough with you, poor fool, to have something to communicate.” At the same time, he challenges us to be filled with the adventure of life: “However weighed-down, washed-up, bullied you may be, ask yourself regularly—and irregularly—‘What can I risk again today?’”
If Michaux is at war with complacency, he is nonetheless for the total experience of life. As Lynn Hoggard writes in her introduction, “The braces of Tent Posts...aren’t for the purpose of cocooning in a tent of self. They give grounding and guidance to the adventurous traveler in spaces much larger than the personal. Michaux counsels that the journey be made with forethought...and the desire not so much to save this age as to move on to a new one.”