Pub date: April 24, 2009
New Translation of Seul on est
Winner 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry
Nominated 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation
Serge Patrice Thibodeau's writings, influenced by his travels in Asia, the Middle East, and cities including Prague, Budapest, and Warsaw, focus on themes of wandering and erotic desire, a mystical and sensual quest imbued with Islamic and Christian forms of spirituality. While living in Moncton during a twenty-month period, the mascaret (tidal bore) of the Petitcodiac River inspired meditative focus for Thibodeau out of which was drawn One, a collection of sensitive and precise observations of a walker, deeply aware of the power of place, leading the reader along a path carved from the landscape by the ebb and flow of the mascaret.
Rather than locked in solitude, human consciousness exists for Serge Patrice Thibodeau in a state of singular wonder, of unique and mindful appreciation. These poems reverberate with a deep spiritual experience that emanates from strands of flickering grass in snow-muffled salt marshes, the bronze of ice in tidal flats, shells, the ligature of root systems — and equally from roasted chestnuts, coffee, and a chunk of cheese.
An elegant testimony to the beautiful and the good, One pays homage to the vibrancy and vigour of life, backdropped against the precarious immediacy of the everyday. From the tiny trunk of opening lines taken from Paul Valéry, Thibodeau unpacks a vision of human consciousness that exists in a state of singular wonder, creating a universe that is at once faithful and ever-changing like the tidal bore — the landscape of mascaret. Thibodeau boldly blends anecdotes, pop-ups, leitmotifs, ecological awareness, and the inner world in variations on the theme of wholeness.
“Writing in the meditative tradition of Valéry, Bachelard, and Bonnefoy, Serge Patrice Thibodeau creates a heightened, musical engagement with the landscapes both present and remembered.” — Don McKay, author of Strike/Slip
“Thibodeau summons us out of ourselves into a searing attention — to the history, to the land — and translator Jo-Anne Elder faithfully captures that shiver of being in a world that knows far more than we do.” — Katia Grubisic, author of What if red ran out