Notebook of Roses and Civilization
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The heat of summer on an earlobe, a parking meter, the shadow of crabs and pigeons under a cherry tree, an olive, a shoulder blade – in the poems of Nicole Brossard these concrete, quotidian things move languorously through the senses to find a place beyond language. Taken together, they create an audacious new architecture of meaning.
Nicole Brossard, one of the world’s foremost literary innovators, is known for her experiments with language and her groundbreaking treatment of desire and gender. This dextrous translation by the award-winning poets and translators Erin Moure (Little Theatres) and Robert Majzels (Apikoros Sleuth) brings into English, with great verve and sensitivity, Brossard’s remarkable syntax and sensuality.
Grant Programs of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. We also acknowledge the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program. This epub edition published in 2010. Electronic ISBN 978 1 77056 166 3. LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION Brossard, Nicole, 1943- [Cahier de roses & de civilisation. English] Notebook of roses and civilization / Nicole Brossard; translated by Robert Majzels and Erin Mouré. -- 1st ed.
the wind, all the arrows even if we add i so who made this picture with no eye and a pen where are you headed your back in that sweater summer on your shoulder without the weight of bones? all the dreams we don’t carry away blur in the night like fans kites unimaginable enigmas we have to breathe in the wake of the pen: scent of dusk the word wound because of the fragility of irises of white cosmos and of night that falls in the midst of road incidents toys that
meaning plunge into the dark with metronome crabs eels intestines legs and antennae destiny you said it from memory with a single verb the thousand and one possibilities of the toe, the foot the ankle images in the subway glued to each other faces pressed against the whys the saliva the fingernails it all goes beyond adverbs and bones the future the future naked things design audacity vertical a woman in panties half-spoken surrounded by syntax and
roses, its luminous whites that traverse children’s voices, their laughing arms. But there’s outside where the living face of suffering never shows. So you fall asleep on the name of public things forgetting the darkness that runs easily through life, the blur in the eyes that gathers bones north of the forehead like fruits, toys, words with their angled knees and elbows and the tree nuts that parade in answer or that smash and transform shadow words those that race the pulse and modulate again
and marvellous. It’s certainties that in tiny increments of dust and light are soon mixed with our tears. It’s inexplicable feelings made of small hurts strung over long years and vast horizons, it’s blues ideas that settle in where the happiness of existing threatens to take the breath away or to lodge itself in the throat like an instrument of fervour. It’s glimmers of intoxications impossible to look at for long, thoughts so precise that engage us beyond shade and wind, far beyond crude words,