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346 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 rare. II faut lire les etranges noces de Nazaire et d'Elise pour comprendre quel etait Ie prix a payer pour celte independance qui n'avait pas voulu de 'la guerre des autres.' Tout eela dit sans enflure ni Qutrance, d'un ton egal et mesure. Avec L'Emmitoufle, Louis Caron a cree un personnage qui a I'ampleur du type sans perdre I'unicite de I'individu, et un espace romanesque qui n'est pas sans analogie avec la grandeur sauvage du Mel1aud de Savard. On I'aura (Cnstate, la'production romanesque nkente, hantee jusqu'a, I'obsession par la question des origines et de la duree, s'est animee d'un souffle epique jusque-Ia a peu pres inconnu des lettres quebecoises. Le temps n'y est plus fragmente, fige en instantanes fulgurants, comme dans certains romans poetiques d'Anne Hebert et de Marie-Claire Blais, ou encore dans les fictions politiques d'Aquin, mais devient lui-meme objet d'investigation et support de la thematique. Temps Ie plus souvent an-historique cependant, si I'on donne au mot 'histoire' son sens Ie plus strict, puisque un seul roman, L'Emmitoufie (mis a part Les Cordes-de-bois qu'on situe vaguement dans les annees 1930), a choisi de donner des coordonnees spatio-temporelles qui renvoient ades signes nHerentieis precis. Plutot que de faire concurrence a l'etat civil et a l'evenement, il s'agit, pour plusieurs romanciers, de 'franchir Ie mur du temps: a la recherche d'une parole-fleuve, fondee mais surtout fondatrice, eclatante et sourde tout a la fois. Parole de l'origine qui transpose I'histoire en recreant les mythes primitifs et retrouve Ie sens du collectif en affirmant la solitude inalienable du diseur, du poete. En somme, Ie roman quebecois de 1977 devoile l'ambiguite inherente au projet d'ecrire et exhibe avec fierte la necessite de son perpetuel recommencement. Poetry MICHAE L HORNYA NSKY Who reads poetry anyway, demanded my publisher friend over coffee in his shoestring office; and who buys it? I objected that I had a stack of 49 books of-verse awaiting me, thick and slim, and good reason to suppose that these which had reached me were by no means the total published in 1977. And who would be publishing them, he rejoined, if it were not for grants from government agencies? One answer is that he would, and does: not in the hope of breaking even, whether through trade or subvention, but out of a genuine sense of duty. The corollary is that he would never publish more than a few, because he also judges that there are not many poets around who deserve the light of day, not to mention applause. But I could not quarrel with the POETRY 347 generalization, and his authority, confirming some long-standing suspicions , made me take a fresh look at this year's roundup. What motives had the publishers of these 49? Why for instance would anyone, let alone Vantage Press of New York, confer hard covers on the earnest doggerel of John Bell's The Immigrant? Aha: Vantage, my friend explained, was known in the trade as a vanity press; you pay, they print. He had a list of such presses, which I did not consult. Vanity, in both senses, I thought sadly; was all vanity? Let's start with some established writers, who must have turned enough profit to warrant republishing. One of my customary corrals, to manage the annual stampede, is the Salute - for works which on one account or another I cannot say much about, but which require acknowledgment . For example there are certain established writers whom I cannot warm up to, but they presumably have fans who feel otherwise. Irving Layton is back with The Covenant, a sequel or companion to last year's For My Brother Jesus; what I said for that goes for this, nothing to add. (Layton threatens to call his next book Bravo Layton. It's impossible to hate the guy.) Torn Wayman supplies another collection of 'industrial verse' in Free Time: a considerable variety and appeal, as I noted of an earlier volume, but...


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