Poetry from here in five collections

Appear in the light

The great poet Denise Desautels finally comes back to us, after From which sometimes arises an arm of the horizon (2017), with Disappear (Le Noroît), in bookstores for a few days. The meeting with the artist Sylvie Cotton was, for this book, primordial. Let us also underline the very careful work of the publisher as regards the reproduction of the photos and the formal beauty of the book. The texts are not based here on an iconography, they are an intrinsic part of an intimate dialogue with it. “The crossing will be heavy. Basically / our sentences know it, ”writes Desautels with accuracy. This density is integral with the writing of this poet, with the success of the free verses, with the precision of a vocabulary which is joined to a powerful vision of the vagaries of life. The whole takes us straight to this surprising word which comes to us like a gift: “console” (title of a work by Cotton). This is what makes the height of this poetry, this power to give life, to postpone sorrow. “Vis cree ris gravis”, she wrote so that our reading could spawn through this “naked tongue in this narrow nest of letters” and so that we could accompany “O joy. The vast life of the living ”. This very strong collection is an event which further illuminates the depth of a work which never ceases to flourish.

Faced with the death of Joyce Echaquan

Difficult to do more sober and more moving than Jean Sioui who at the beginning ofAt sunset of the promised land (Inkwell memory, in bookstores), offers some discreet texts on the death of this Atikamekw mother who died in degrading circumstances. However, the
Sioui’s poetry is all in dignity as he confides: “Joyce’s smile told me / Cries / Soothes prejudices / Before the storm breaks humans. This beautiful collection revisits nature, examines the destiny of indigenous peoples, their sense of belonging and dispossession. He knows all too well how ” [u] no rope swinging in the shed / [est] a death trap ”, he knows very well that“ [l] he critics talk about your reserve / While you salt the lake / The tears of your children // Plant your rhymes between the trees ”. It is not without reason that he admits: “The poem is my wisdom. “This wisdom sometimes takes the aspect of a whispered tale and yet the bearer of a great truth:” A hundred years ago / My garden was bare / I planted a rock / As big as an egg / I planted a seed / Small as a louse / Yesterday I visited my garden / The rock had not grown / The seed was a tree. Here is a happy way to transcend the revolting dead and to expect some regeneration from life.

Black’s terrible wishes

With Nothing was lacking in the world (Les Herbes Rouges, in bookstores), Marcel Labine pushes to the limit the discourse of a great anger which functions in accumulation, the repetitive “I” adding a harmful wish to a harmful devastation. In the second part, Claude Gauvreau, great imprecator, distorter of language, is invited, actor destroyed in his own language; Mozart’s Stone Commander will follow, resurrected from the dead, then the human magma of the underground and the hordes, and so on. In fact, the big bike in this collection evokes a title by Samuel Becket: Cap for the worst. Such an explosion of invectives and violence unfolds through this book that it necessarily intimidates. Labine fires whatever makes the heart tremble in this adrift world. He spares us nothing, from anger to fragility, from the bruised body to the damaged feeling of an exacerbated sickness. Very long collection, with its 248 pages, the object itself testifies to the prolixity of an irrepressible gall. It is a lightning book. It is a great scholarly book, with a culture invested without restraint. And the false prose disguised as verse evokes a Homeric breath, a Victor Hugo-style stave. The final apocalyptic abyss, the beings once again become amoeba, earthworms, living in a filthy cesspool, swallow all hope.

To suffer in his body

Who likes the texts of Jean-Christophe Réhel will undoubtedly like Say thank you (Your Mother, in bookstores), the first collection of Camille Paré-Poirier, who at age 12 was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor. The subject of the broken body is reminiscent of the very beautiful Gesture by Anne-Marie Alonzo (Éditions des Femmes). Paré-Poirier’s book tells meticulously, in free verse rather than in prose, the delay in finding the wrong, the care, the rehabilitation. Nothing will be spared us from the girl’s feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, until things can get a little better. She will survive. It is therefore, in this book, an autobiographical slice which claims to be poetry. However, the latter sometimes blossoms with precision: “tumor // such a small word / for months of pain // the word is so small / you would take it in your hand / to flatter his hair / hum a lullaby “,” There are words that are ashamed of themselves / words that apologize “. Our reading is fluid, carried away by an impression of a thriller, so much the author succeeds in creating this effect of expectation, of hope. It fundamentally wins the adhesion, and we turn the pages with a troubled soul admiring the courage of the child and taken with compassion for this senseless ordeal which hinders the development of life. A beautiful book that draws on this everyday poetry, in a touching language that is often very simple.

“I am a battered woman”

The first collection of Nana Quinn, Mauve is a verb for my throat (Poets of the bush, in bookstores), balances himself between the whispered confidence and a dull rebellious anger. This text, while restrained, has the particularity of reaching out to the heart of the unspoken, of the limbo where the oppressed woman finds herself, in the process of defining her own fear, the incredible mistake of this soluble love: “I am a woman. beaten is not / a poem is / a declaration of love ”,“ fear makes me loving / loved ”. The apnea that keeps her from screaming during the blows, during the overwhelming, inscribes fear in her body: “your number is 911 / I have it on my arm / in a permanent pencil”. This awareness of being in danger runs through the collection like a tidal wave: “all these women / killed on the kitchen floor / between the toaster and the tiles // it could be me”. And thus unfold these unthinkable feminicides which add up: “you find me beautiful with my bruises / an abstract canvas”. The great quality of this collection is to avoid clichés, to speak differently about what a devastated woman undergoes. The tone is always right, very beautiful, very poetic: “we found cacti in your entrails / they bloom whistling / your mother’s lullabies / spread out / in minefields on your breath // whistling absence unbearable / from another sky behind / the sky ”.

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