Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nicole Brossard & Fred Wah

The National Poetry Foundation had a conference on the poetry of the 1970s last year. There are many conference reports up on the site now. But I'll offer you a brief reading by Wah & Brossard, two poets that were very active in the 70s. And still are. The conference corresponded with Steve Evans Course, Feminist & Avant-Garde Poetries of the 1970s, which included Brossard, Susan Howe, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Bernadette Mayer and Florence Howe--a new name to me.

Turn of a Pang, was published by Coach House in 1976, translation by Patricia Claxton, and Coach House continues to publish Brossard--most recently Fences in Breathing. Turn of a Pang, along with A Book, and French Kiss, or A Pang's Progress, were later published as The Blue Books.

Series: Coach House Quebec Translations
Here composition is both the subject of the novel and a metaphor for the lives of its characters. Cherry composes herself in derivative images - the cheap red of cosmetics, the glossy red of escapist romance - in a futile search for the richness of relationship which the sexual pun of her name promises. In narrative technique this is one of the most semiotic of contemporary novels; the story is conveyed by a series of recurring signs and images - rust, networks, membranes, fingernails. Brossard's language is playful and punning - qualities strikingly preserved by Patricia Claxton's 'traduction'

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