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.
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 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.