This edition of Nelligan's poems, with a critical introduction by the editor and translator, is the first complete English translation of Nelligan's poetry authorized by the Emile Nelligan Foundation. With this book the editor hopes to persuade the reader that Emile Nelligan, "the most brilliant and original of the poets of the Ecole Littéraire of Montreal," was also the finest Canadian poet of the nineteenth century. In this view he is seconded by the American critic Edmund Wilson, who wrote: "The accepted idea [in Canada]. . . is that the poetry of English Canada is excellent and better than their fiction, and it irritates them to be told that the best Canadian poet was French." Published in English.
About the authors
Émile Nelligan was born in Montreal on Christmas eve, 1879. His first poem , Rêve fantastique was published in 1896 and for the next three years his poems appeared in local papers and journals. Following a series of public readings in 1899 he suffered a mental breakdown from which he never recovered. He was confined to the Saint-Benoît Asylum where he remained for the next 25 years and then was transferred to the Saint-Jean-de-Dieu Hospital. Remarkably, all of Nelligans 107 poems were written when he was between the ages of 16 and 19. A pioneer of French-Canadian literature, Émile Nelligan died in 1941
.Marc di Saverio's is the author of a previous collection of poems, Sanitorium Songs (2010). His poems and translations have appeared in CNQ, Maisonneuve, Hazlitt, and Partisan. In 2016, he was awarded the City of Hamilton Arts Award For Best Emerging Writer. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
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.