First published in 1974, Mourir à Scoudouc emerged out of a period of cultural awakening. Chiasson's poems denounced the narrow limitations of the past and traced the lines of a fresh collective vision. The poems were lyrical, referentially modern, and steeped in the rhythms and forms that had emerged from the Americas, Europe, and India.
Now, more than 40 years later, Herménégilde Chiasson is considered to be the father of Acadian modernism, and Mourir à Scoudouc is widely regarded as one of the foundational works of modern Acadian literature. Several of the poems, including the oft-anthologized long poem, "Eugénie Melanson," have now achieved iconic status, appearing frequently in books, magazines, and films — in French and in English.
To Live and Die in Scoudouc is the first English edition of this seminal collection. It replicates Chiasson's design of the 2017 edition and features his own photographs as well as his new introductory essay.
Although several of the poems have been previously translated, To Live and Die in Scoudouc features fresh renditions by Jo-Anne Elder, who worked closely with Chiasson on the translations.
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.
"Le travail d’Elder est de manière générale très solide et très senti, pour faire passer une poésie qui emprunte des sentiers fréquentés mais en étant à l’affût de l’image nouvelle."
<i>University of Toronto Quarterly</i>