Climates is suffused with the single-minded desire to fully inhabit, and be inhabited by, a place: Acadie. The political push-and-pull of being Acadian is a constant, even when the mutability of personal life is in the foreground. The four sections of Climates each correspond to a season, and each is marked by unity of tone, atmosphere, and form.
About the authors
Herménégilde Chiasson has been called "the spokesperson and conscience of the young Acadian poetry." His poetry has been nominated for and won the Governor General's Award and twice won the Prix France-Acadie. In 1990 the French government named him a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Herménégilde Chiasson studied visual arts at Mount Allison University, Université de Moncton, and New York University, and received his PhD from the Sorbonne. He has produced some 15 films, written 20 plays, and exhibited his paintings and photographs in galleries in the Maritimes, Toronto, and internationally. In 2001, Chiasson was one of a select group of artists chosen to accompany Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to South America. This special state visit was organized to foster new cultural and social links between Canada, Chile and Argentina.
Jo-Anne Elder was a member of the Romance Languages Department in 1990-1991. Since then, she has taught French part-time and more recently has taught in the Gender Studies Program. Active as a writer, translator, and editor, she wrote Postcards from Ex-Lovers (Broken Jaw Press, 2005) and has translated many works from French into English. Three of her translations — a novel (Tales from Dog Island: St. Pierre et Miquelon, Killick, 2002) and two books of poems (Beatitudes, Goose Lane, 2007, and One, Goose Lane, 2009) — were shortlisted for Governor General's Awards. She is editor of la revue ellipse magazine, a journal devoted to Canadian literature in translation.
Fred Cogswell (1917-2004) grew up in the farming community of East Centreville, New Brunswick, started teaching school when he was sixteen, and served overseas in the Canadian Army during the Second World War. After earning his BA and MA from the University of New Brunswick and his PhD from the University of Edinburgh, he became a professor of English at the University of New Brunswick. In 1954, Cogswell and others involved with the literary journal The Fiddlehead founded Fiddlehead Poetry Books. In 1957, Cogswell became the sole publisher, and by 1958 The Stunted Strong had been followed by two more volumes, one of which was Emu, Remember, by Al Purdy. One of only a few poetry publishers in Canada, Cogswell eventually published books by more than 300 poets. As well as devoting himself to poetry by others, Fred Cogswell left a large body of his own poetry. In his lifetime, he published more than 30 collections, and en route to the hospital just before he died, he and his daughter dropped his final manuscript in the mail. As well, in the 1970s, Cogswell pioneered translating French Canadian poetry into English, and in the 1980s, he began his landmark translations of Acadian poetry, often in collaboration with Jo-Anne Elder.
"Climates possesses a haunting and sustained clarity that meshes vividly with the writer's superb linguistic authority and structural virtuosity (reminiscent of the work of David Jones in its commanding prose passages, the gruesome lyricality of Hubert Aquin)... The volume's quartet of entries succeeds beautifully, tracking the emotional impoverishment and universal loneliness accompanying the perceived numbness of contemporary life."
<i>Globe and Mail</i>