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Twohundredandfourpoems

Twohundredandfourpoems

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Twohundredandfourpoems

Longueur:
229 pages
50 minutes
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jan 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781550715927
Format:
Livre

Description

Translated by award-winning author Antonio D’Alfonso, this collection presents four books by prolific Quebec writer Roger Des Roches. Considered by many scholars and critics to be one of the founders of modernity in Quebec, Des Roches’ writings span more than four decades and have acted as a source of inspiration for an entire generation of Quebec writers. {Guernica Editions}
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jan 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781550715927
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Poet and novelist Roger Des Roches, born in 1950 in Trois-Rivières and presently residing in Montreal, has published more than thirty books. He is a multi-award winner — including le Grand prix du Festival international de poésie de Trois-Rivières 2001 for Nuit, penser — and has twice been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award.

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Aperçu du livre

Twohundredandfourpoems - Roger Des Roches

ROGER DES ROCHES

TWOHUNDREDANDFOURPOEMS

 ESSENTIAL POETS SERIES 186

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY ANTONIO D’ALFONSO

GUERNICA

Toronto – Buffalo – Lancaster (U.K.)

2011  

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

A Note by the Translator

Reality (1992)

The Owner of Time Present (1996)

Night, Thinking (2001)

julyeighteenthtwothousandfour (2008)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This translation was made possible in part thanks to The Canada Council for the Arts for their grant. I wish to thank Connie McParland and Michael Mirolla of Guernica Editions for making this book possible. I dedicate these translations to Marylea MacDonald and to my dear friend, Daniel Sloate.

A NOTE BY THE TRANSLATOR

Some writers sew the patterns of their imaginary world slowly, with complete disregard of style, chronology, and the- matic, for in the end they know exactly what texture will be produced. One such poet is Roger Des Roches, considered by many scholars and critics to be one of the founders of modernity in Quebec. His first poems were published in 1968 (when Des Roches was eighteen years old) in Les Herbes Rouges, la revue (the magazine), before Les Herbes Rouges be- came the influential publishing house of the 1980s. Roger Des Roches has remained faithful to Les Herbes Rouges’ philosophical and artistic stance, while evolving a style unlike any other poet.

When I, as a publisher, approached Roger Des Roches to do a selection of his poems in translation, he immedi- ately suggested a collection of four titles, La Réalité (1992), Le Propriétaire du présent (1996), Nuit, Penser (2001), and dix- huitjuilletdeuxmillequatre (2008). The task of translating these 204 poems had been assigned to Marylea MacDonald who had done a remarkable job in translating Paul Chanel Malenfant’s If This Were Death (2007). Marylea tackled Des Roches’ poems, but sadly passed away before she could put the final touches to her translation of Nuit, penser. The poet, in all honesty, did not particularly like that translation; he thought it too literal, or too symbolic. Being a friend of Roger, I promised him that I would dedicate a year or so in producing an acceptable translation of his extremely re- fined, complex verses. It was a promise I could not break.

Here is neither Nicole Brossard’s deconstructed les- bian syntax of Lovhers (1987), translated by Barbara Godard, nor André Roy’s stylized homoerotic darkness of The Passions of Mr. Desire (1986), translated by Daniel Sloate. This is not the tormented, linguistic, anthropolog- ical exploration of Jean-Marc Desgent’s Twentieth Centuries (2008), who would be superbly translated by Daniel Sloate months before Daniel passed away.

Roger Des Roches could have chosen to be an English- speaking writer; he didn’t. When he re-read the transla- tions his mastery of the language enabled him to go through every single word, image, and space with the eyes of a scientist. I am, therefore, pleased to say that this is a translation that has received the poet’s stamp of approval. Does that mean that what is on the page is what was on the original page? Not necessarily. Roger Des Roches pointed the reading of a verse in a very precise direction. If there was ambiguity in my eyes, no such ambiguity existed in Roger Des Roches’ eyes. This exercise of punctilious fidelity soon made me understand much more what the poetry was actually all about.

Roger Des Roches is the most realistic poet of his gen- eration (born in 1950). If the word God appears in this verse, this is a god who walks the streets of Montreal, not as an angel, but as a living flesh-and-bone person. The sky is not heaven. Spirituality, if any, is the spirit found in the many layers of skin that make up men and women. One is almost tempted to say that there is no symbolic world in Des Roches’ poetry. Here is a poetry of reality decom- pounded;

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