The oedipus heralds the loss of the pre-symbolic identity of the subject, that is forced to live, to think and to talk in a common language. Unspoken, preverbal identity elements are abandoned. Poetry is perhaps a form of language that brings to mind these pre-oedipal hidden sentiments. In other words, the question is what are the traces of this mutilation and these losses? Julia Kristeva’s theory of the semiotic, and also the work of Wilfred Bion, Lou-Andréas Salomé and Ingeborg Bachmann, are discussed in detail with regards to their contributions to the individuality and singularity of this pre-oedipal and preverbal condition. The importance of poetry (also in the psychoanalytic cure) is highlighted by an evocation of the literary survival attempt by Serge André, not least his personal comment on the book Flac that he wrote to free himself from the threat of physical risk.