By Louise Dupré
Translated by Karen Isabel Ocaña
Rooms is lyrical and meditative, painterly, erotic and philosophical. The book is thematically and structurally a unity, but a unity of many parts, one and multiple. Rooms, many-chambered, purposeful and highly stylized yet light, light and airy as a beehive. Rooms plays like ... Read more
Rooms is lyrical and meditative, painterly, erotic and philosophical. The book is thematically and structurally a unity, but a unity of many parts, one and multiple. Rooms, many-chambered, purposeful and highly stylized yet light, light and airy as a beehive. Rooms plays like a late 20th century blues-inflected jazz. There are multiple melodies, linked through motifs and memory: recurrent variations on several themes--childhood, life and death, love, memory and duration. Throughout, you find yourself lending the poems your soul as well as your ear.
Born in 1949 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Louise Dupré is a prolific and influential member of Quebec’s vibrant literary scene whose work is becoming increasingly well-known outside Quebec. Both a writer and an educator, Louise has received numerous prizes, distinctions and literary honours, notably her appointment to the Order of Canada in December, 2014, and the 2011 Governor General’s award for her poetry collection Plus haut que les flammes (translated as Beyond The Flames (Guernica, 2014). Primarily a poet, she also writes fiction, theory and plays.
Karen Isabel Ocaña
Born in Toronto in 1960, Karen Ocaña grew up multilingual. She began translating, unofficially, at age four. Officially, Karen’s translation career took off in 1980 with a stint in Quebec City, post-referendum, at the Ministère d’Industrie, Commerce et Tourisme. Karen earned a B.A. in French (U of T/86) followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature (McGill/96) followed by a Graduate Diploma in Translation (McGill/2002). Karen’s translations of essays by Gilles Deleuze, Gilbert Simondon, Bernard Cache, Michel Maffesoli and José Gil have appeared in various publications, but her first published translation was of two poems by David McFadden, from his collection Gypsy Guitar, into Spanish (Indigo magazine, 1990). Rooms is her first book-length translation.
my hands, your hands. your lips. on my breasts, on my belly. bodies that seek one another … you speak of “the little death. ” i say the sheets become flesh.
Louise Dupré deploys the multiple senses of room to produce what I’d call a carefully structured ‘poetic installation. ’ […] It’s not a matter of description or derivation through metaphor or analogy, but rather of concretely deploying the space of the room as the scenario of the imaginary, making the experience possible […] Without a doubt one of the beautiful books of the year, both for the clarity of its writing and the scale of the reflections it embodies.
— Pierre Nepveu