Rooms is lyrical and meditative, painterly, erotic and philosophical. The book is thematically and structurally a unity, but a unity of many parts, one and multiple. Rooms, many-chambered, purposeful and highly stylized yet light, light and airy as a beehive. Rooms plays like a late 20th century blues-inflected jazz. There are multiple melodies, linked through motifs and memory: recurrent variations on several themes--childhood, life and death, love, memory and duration. Throughout, you find yourself lending the poems your soul as well as your ear.
About the authors
Louise Dupre is the author of numerous books and was twice nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry. Her novel La Memoria (1996) won two major literary prizes. La Voie lactee (The Milky Way), her most recent book, was nominated for the 2001 Prix France-Quebec. Louise Dupre teaches literature and creative writing at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal.
Liedewy Hawke's translation Hopes and Dreams: The Diary of Henriette Dessaulles, 1874-1881 won the 1986 Canada Council Prize for Translation (now the Governor General's Award for Translation). Her other translations include Memoria (Louise Dupre's La memoria), published by Simon & Pierre in 1999, and House of Sighs, a translation of Jocelyne Saucier's La vie comme une image, published by Mercury Press in 2001.
Born in Toronto in 1960, Karen Ocaña grew up multilingual. She began translating, unofficially, at age four. Officially, Karen’s translation career took off in 1980 with a stint in Quebec City, post-referendum, at the Ministère d’Industrie, Commerce et Tourisme. Karen earned a B.A. in French (U of T/86) followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature (McGill/96) followed by a Graduate Diploma in Translation (McGill/2002). Karen’s translations of essays by Gilles Deleuze, Gilbert Simondon, Bernard Cache, Michel Maffesoli and José Gil have appeared in various publications, but her first published translation was of two poems by David McFadden, from his collection Gypsy Guitar, into Spanish (Indigo magazine, 1990). Rooms is her first book-length translation.
- Short-listed, QWF Cole Foundation Prize for Translation (Short-listed)
Excerpt: Rooms (by (author) Louise Dupré; translated by Karen Isabel Ocaña)
my hands, your hands. your lips. on my breasts, on my belly. bodies that seek one another … you speak of “the little death.” i say the sheets become flesh.
Louise Dupré deploys the multiple senses of room to produce what I’d call a carefully structured ‘poetic installation.’ […] It’s not a matter of description or derivation through metaphor or analogy, but rather of concretely deploying the space of the room as the scenario of the imaginary, making the experience possible […] Without a doubt one of the beautiful books of the year, both for the clarity of its writing and the scale of the reflections it embodies.