Death of the poet Michel Garneau

The poet, playwright, writer, radio man and Quebec actor with imposing work, Michel Garneau, died at the age of 82 on Monday.

It was his editor at L’oie de Cravan, Benoît Chaput, who made the announcement Monday evening on social networks. “Michel Garneau, our beloved Michel died this afternoon, Monday September 13, 2021, at the Magog hospital. He was a poet to the end. Her warm voice, her warm life will be missed. “

Contacted by The duty, he said he was in shock. “I knew Michel was very sick, but he didn’t stop writing poems. In recent weeks he has sent me a lot, ”he says. “He loved poetry and life to the end, he never stopped. Until his last breath ”.

In a series of unpublished poems read from his home in his house in Magog, during a performance presented online for Poetry Month in March, Michel Garneau spoke of the pain that afflicts him daily, of these “Three big incurable sores” with which he negotiates. “I’m still afraid of this old friend who called himself tomorrow,” he announced, the tubes of oxygen in his nose.

“In my life, it often happened like this: when I came close to despair, I saw the humor. It’s a grace or a damnation, I don’t know. When I take myself seriously enough to be desperate, I find it funny, it doesn’t work. Yes, I mean it’s very hard what I’m going through, that I sometimes wake up crying because I can’t believe I’m going to spend another day on my couch and I won’t be able to go out, because that I am not able to walk. It’s very, very, very difficult what I’m going through. But at the same time, I am still able to write poems. I still want to communicate. “

Michel Garneau had published a last work at the end of May, The wooden knife, a book about his childhood and whose title refers to a wooden knife offered by his brother Sylvain. “These stories, I had identified them a long time ago as stories to tell”, he had told in the pages of the To have to. “I knew that I would have to be old enough to savor all the sap in retrospect, when I had the experience of knowing what really happened or, at least, when I could relate without ornamentation what I remember, without adding anything and without saying what to think about it. “

Benoît Chaput retains from the author Winter yesterday “An absolute gem” published in 2015 and The little horses in love, a classic of Quebec poetry published for the first time in 1977. “As a poet he had an immense love of the language and, as a person, an immense love,” he says. “He’s someone who made me want to believe in life. He was an enjoyer, in a good way. He knew that every moment was important ”.

Self-taught and jack-of-all-trades, Michel Garneau left school at the age of 14. He immersed himself in the world of radio at the age of 15 and wrote poetry until his imprisonment during the October Crisis in 1970.

He is the author of dozens of books, including collections of poetry and numerous theater texts, in which he incorporates a popular and raw Quebecois language. Among his major pieces is Very quickly (1973), presented in Montreal, Toronto, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United States.

He was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award for The little horses in love (poetry) in 1978, which he refused, however, for political reasons, and for Mademoiselle rouge (theater) in 1990.

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