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The heat of summer on an earlobe, a parking meter, the shadow of crabs and pigeons under a cherry tree, an olive, a shoulder blade in the poems of Nicole Brossard these concrete, quotidian things move languorously through the senses to find a place beyond language. Taken together, they create an audacious new architecture of meaning.
Nicole Brossard, one of the world’s foremost literary innovators, is known for her experiments with language and her groundbreaking treatment of desire and gender. This dextrous translation by the award-winning poets and translators Erín Moure (Little Theatres) and Robert Majzels (Apikoros Sleuth) brings into English, with great verve and sensitivity, Brossard’s remarkable syntax and sensuality.
‘[Brossard’s] use of elliptical formulations and syntactical hijackings creates tensions between the image and the…[more]
Erín Moure is one of the most consistently innovative, radically imaginative poets at work in Canada. With each book, Moure seeks to re-create “writing” from the ground up.
Little Theatres appears at a pressing historical crossroads, when we most need our language to be made restive again. Like the agua/water running through the collection—at once lingual exchange, submersion, balm, and sustenance—Moure’s voices are as fluid, clear, animated, and shimmering with light and life as ever.
Galician and English intermingle in this collection like currents of the same river. How can we open the infinitely small spaces of Little Theatres in our own lives? Can they take the place of war? And who, exactly, writes them? Erín Moure? The unjustly ignored thinker Elisa Sampedrín? Or a speaker inside us finally willing to give Little Theatres its due attention? An intimate act of cultural and personal interflow, this new work from a major poet has the power to alter our perception of where, and on what scale, the action is taking place.
A temporary move to Toronto in the winter of 2000, a twisted ankle, an empty house-all inspired Mouré as she read Alberto Caeiro and Fernando Pessoa’s classic long poem “O Guardador de Rebanhos”. For fun, she started to translate, altering tones and vocabularies. From the Portuguese countryside and roaming sheep of 1914, a 21st century Toronto emerged, its neighborhoods still echoing the 1950s, their dips and hollows, hordes of wild cats, paved creeks. Her poem became a translation, the jubilant and irrepressible vigil of a fervent person.
“Suddenly,” says Mouré impishly, “I had found my master.” Caeiro’s sheep were his thoughts and his thoughts, he claimed, were all sensations. Mouré’s sheep are stray cats and from her place in Caeiro’s poetry, she creates a woman alive in an urban world where the rural has not vanished, where the archaic suffuses us even when we do not beckon it, and yet the present…[more]