The new collection from Governor General’s Literary Award–winning poet and translator Erín Moure is a book about tenderness, and about The Good, in the face of destruction.
The Elements is a family book, a thinker’s biography in poetry, and a polylingual homage. Poems about and for Moure’s late father — accepting his dementia as a real way of thinking “world” and “self” in a struggle against invasive powers — are braced alongside poems invoking the struggle of Galician peasants against the invasion of the armies of Napoleon. It is a book about tenderness, and about The Good, in the face of destructions. By celebrating our ability to think and to revolt, it defends the human pull toward happiness and sovereignty, toward life, toward living. “The infinitely transmissible,” it says, “demands this polyvalent body.”
About the author
A central figure in contemporary poetry and one of the most iconoclastic figures in Galician and European literature, Chus Pato's sixth book, m-Tala, broke the poetic mould in 2000. Hordes of Writing, the third text in her projected pentology Method, received the 2008 Spanish Critics' Prize for Galician Poetry, and the Losada Di?guez literary prize in 2009. Pato continues to refashion the way we think of the possibilities of poetic text, of words, bodies, political and literary space, and of the construction of ourselves as individual, community, nation, world. She brings us face to face with the traumas and migrations of Europe, with writing itself, and the possibility (or not) of poetry accounting for our animal selves. Secession is Pato's ninth book and her fourth to be translated into English.
Montreal poet Erín Moure has published seventeen books of poetry in English and Galician/English, and thirteen volumes of poetry translated from French, Spanish, Galician and Portuguese into English, by poets such as Andr's Ajens, Nicole Brossard, Rosala de Castro, Louise Dupr?, and Fernando Pessoa. Her work has received the Governor General's Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the A.M. Klein Prize, and has been a three-time finalist for the Griffin Prize. Moure is currently revising the bilingual French/English impossible play Kapusta, a sequel to The Unmemntioable, for publication in 2015, and is translating Chus Pato's Carne de Leviatan into English as Flesh of Leviathan, to appear in 2016. She is also working on a new book of poems called The Elements, and on a translation of Wilson Bueno's Mar Paraguayo.
Excerpt: The Elements (by (author) Erín Moure)
The Accidents (Merlín)
That day I went into the trees
—Give me nothing
My scope was interwoven
birds sang their low
easily a wave
Small insects rose up into the wave of
—Ábreme a luzporta!
Swimming in mere air or sheer air
not quite sure
—Could about be
Yet why put such words in a single monstrance?
Open as those trees
Our mermaid is
its long branches trail out to a leaf or vein
My mermaid is
bark’s integument so salutory to view
Give me nothing
Give me not this monstrance
For which I went today in morning
my mouth black
in the lightcup of the trees
A formally exciting work.
Montreal Review of Books
Moure’s wit and her eye for the beautiful infuse the poems . . . The collection is intensely rewarding, tender, and human as it attempts to name the unnameable, to bear the unbearable.
Canadian Notes & Queries