01 October 2010

October 1st

October looks to be a month of deadlines. There'll be fewer words and more pictures, beginning with Frank Newfeld's cover illustrations for The Journal of Saint-Denys-Garneau.

I'm intrigued by this book. Hector de Saint-Denys-Garneau stands with Émile Nelligan as the country's great French language poet; his journal provides some disconcerting glimpses into the soul of a man who was plagued by inner turmoil and self-doubt. That said, I admit that much of my attraction has to do with the book's publishing history. The Journal of Saint-Denys-Garneau appeared in 1962, yet there had never been an English language collection of his verse. In fact, John Glassco, spent more than a decade trying to interest publishers.

When finally published by Oberon in 1975, The Complete Poems of Saint-Denys-Garneau won the Canada Council Award for Translation.

The Journal and The Complete Poems enjoyed just one printing each. Isn't it time they were reissued? An obvious bind-up, I think.

On a somewhat related note: Last week, the 28th John Glassco Translation Prize was awarded to Louis Bouchard and Marie-Elisabeth Morf for their work on Verena Stefan's Fremdschläfer, published as D’ailleurs by Editions Héliotrope. Now, there's news you won't see in today's revamped Globe & Mail.

On another somewhat related note: Saint-Denys-Garneau has been on my mind since Jean-Louis Lessard's recent series on the man's work, and because I'm right now preparing my biography of Glassco for publication. Consider this the first plug.

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