Beatitudes

By Herménégilde Chiasson
Translated by Jo-Anne Elder

Beatitudes
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For Herménégilde Chiasson, every work of art is both a cry and a prayer. Beatitudes reflects this perspective by connecting everyday events — people losing their keys or their cellphone signals — to the universal. Sighs, silences, and human utterances all become part of ... Read more


Overview

For Herménégilde Chiasson, every work of art is both a cry and a prayer. Beatitudes reflects this perspective by connecting everyday events — people losing their keys or their cellphone signals — to the universal. Sighs, silences, and human utterances all become part of an ongoing incantation that ranges from the personal to the textual, from the local to the cosmopolitan. In this postmodern "sermon on the mount," Chiasson has created a tour de force at once compassionate and complex, thoughtful and illuminating.

A meditation on what it means to be human, Chiasson writes from a deep sense of melancholy. Exploring the common bonds of humanity, he creates a tonal montage that probes our notions of who we are and who we might become. Beginning in mid-sentence and ending not with a period but a comma, Beatitudes is Herménégilde Chiasson's most important work to date, with beautiful lines that continue to echo long after they have been read. It will be released simultaneoulsy in French by Editions Prise de Parole.

Herménégilde Chiasson

Herménégilde Chiasson is one of Canada's most accomplished writer-artists. He is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, over 30 plays, and several collections of essays. A multi-disciplinary artist, he has received numerous awards for his work, including the Governor General’s Award for poetry, the Molson Prize, le prix France-Acadie, le Grand prix de la francophonie canadienne, the prestigious Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the Prix littéraire Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie. From 2003 to 2009, he served as Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.

Jo-Anne Elder

Jo-Anne Elder has translated many of Chiasson's works of poetry, including Beatitudes and Conversations and, with Fred Cogswell, Climates. She and Fred Cogswell also edited and translated Unfinished Dreams: Contemporary Poetry of Acadie.

Reviews

'A collection which resonates with humility, awe, and acceptance. '

"Beautiful. .. powerful. .. complex. .. compassionate. .. a classic. "

"Lovely collection. .. his best and most important work to date. "

"In translating Herménégilde Chiasson's Beatitudes, Jo-Anne Elder has met the challenges of both the emotionally charged content of the original, and its specific literary form, the litany. She has movingly rendered the complexity expressed in this contemporary ‘sermon on the mount,’ while providing an English text rich with sensuality, rhythm and a sense of communion. "

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