Poetry | What La Presse thinks

Among the collections of poetry published recently or to be published soon, here are four titles that caught our attention



The flashy beauty of drama

In 1915, on the eve of the Russian Revolution, the destinies of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik crossed. Fifteen years later, at the age of 36, the avant-garde poet shot himself in the heart. “Lili, love me,” he says in his suicide letter. From this tragic relationship will spring loaded, painful words, which Tania Langlais brilliantly revisits in her most recent collection, The apple trees were everywhere overhanging the fences. In this work which celebrates the flashy beauty of drama, it is a question of despair and immoderate love. “The disproportionate chest / I am tired like an animal / I dig into your hours / dirty nails / here your heart / starts again / here your heart surprises itself / beating in your wrists,” writes the author, whose exercise consists, among other things, of putting oneself in Mayakovsky’s shoes. Thanks to the finely crafted writing and theatrical accents of Tania Langlais, we feel the narrator’s drive for life slowing down with each page, until there is nothing left… or almost. “Here are the remains of the lace / before your shirt / kills us / before we take your body / here are the branches of the apple trees / I have nothing to say / more. »

The apple trees were everywhere overhanging the fences

The apple trees were everywhere overhanging the fences

Red herbs

95 pages

8/10

Literary muscle

As its name wonderfully suggests, the collection Proust at the gym was born from the union of two worlds that rarely meet: that of training and that of reading. It is the poet Anthony Lacroix who signed this original book, from which a touching candor and a great sense of self-deprecation emerge. Anthony wants to “read all of Proust and get ripped abs,” lose 20 pounds and finish his master’s thesis in geocriticism. He is therefore forced to embark on a demanding sports-reading-writing program, which he documents here with humor. ” In Search of Lost Time in audiobook / that’s one hundred and twenty-eight hours and six minutes of listening / that’s more than a hundred gym sessions. » With the audio version of Proust’s brick in his ears, he multiplies the bodybuilding sessions, long lists of exercises which inspire the division of his stanzas. “I spend my time listening to The Search / lying on the mattresses in the stretching area / instead of warming up my muscles properly. (…) My training and Proust become concomitant. » It is in the solitude of the gym that the narrator questions his choices and notices his obsessions. A surprising and charming work about success at all costs and the performance anxiety that can only eat away at any product of the last century.

Proust at the gym

Proust at the gym

Les Éditions de Ta Mère

105 pages

7.5/10

Poignant translation

Translation is magical in that it can make us rediscover a work that is beginning to date. Originally published in 2007 in English, Something shiny with holes is now offered in the language of Molière, thanks to the pen of Céline Leroy and Éditions du sous-sol. If we already know the poetry of Maggie Nelson, we have the fascinating impression of reading a sort of premonition of the rest of her work. As if this collection secretly announced everything that the poet would deconstruct afterwards. The form is indefinable, transcends genres, somewhere between the self-narrative, the manifesto and poetry. Maggie Nelson is above all a voice, not a style or a theme. His literature is not obvious, it is just opaque enough and can be deciphered, and that is what is so beautiful. Her texts, tinged with philosophy and borrowing many images from nature, bring us with her into a universe where the worst pains, the worst injustices, can be sublimated by words. “Living as if everything announced the beloved and that is the case / Then the purge / You are perhaps the sea for me, or the opposite / a most reasonable hypothesis / Can’t you see that I’m busy / to triangulate. And while we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that of Something shiny with holesyellow and magnificently pierced with a hole, deserves to be observed for a moment before diving.

In bookstores May 18

Something shiny with holes

Something shiny with holes

Basement Editions

103 pages

7.5/10

Farewell letter to life

With a literary career spanning more than 30 years, the French writer Christian Bobin left the world one last piece of his poetry with The whisper, a collection completed just before his death in November 2022 and published posthumously. “You have to enter a poem when the poet is dead. Otherwise, it makes too much noise, like suddenly lighting up the henhouse,” he writes, evoking his imminent departure like almost everywhere else in the work. Like a summary of his style, this prose text can be read in a low voice and with eyes closed, as prescribed by Bobin through his limpid language. Despite a few clichés – which is almost inevitable when tackling universal themes like daily life and spirituality – the author invites us to slow down, listen to the whispers and find joy in the little things, which comforts and revives at the same time. Christian Bobin’s writing is sensitive and offers a beautiful reflection on existence and the quest for meaning. “I count my life for nothing. Won’t it disappear in less time than it takes for the bird to tear itself off the branch? I count my life for nothing, but not the breath that carries it, the architecture of the breath in the nave of the rib cage. » To reconnect with contemplation and be infused with a dose of gratitude for the beauty of the world.

The whisper

The whisper

Gallimard

129 pages

7/10


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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