A Dive into My Essence


94 pages
ISBN 0-920717-44-6
DDC C848'.5403





Translated by Jennifer Sullivan and Michel Albert
Reviewed by Ronald Conrad

Ronald Conrad is a professor of English at the Ryerson Polytechnical
Institute in Toronto.


Péloquin’s poetical works are both varied and controversial. He was a
founder of L’horloge du nouvel-age and of Le Zirmate, groups that in
the 1960s popularized multi-media productions of dance, electronic
music, visual media and poetry in Quebec. And his own prolific writing
explores such avenues as surrealism, automatic writing, and sound
poetry, attracting both praise and condemnation for his outspoken and
reckless manner.

As he recounts in this little book of prose poems (a translation of Une
plongée dans mon essentiel), he was driven by the pressures of
“public life” to the Bahamas. There he divided his time between sex,
drink, and writing—in which proportions we are not told. But perhaps
the question is irrelevant, for he states, “my life and my writing are

Many will find this book disturbing, not because of the experimentalism
for which Péloquin has been known in the past, but for his social
attitudes which jar the contemporary sensibility. In the age of aids he
is an unapologetic sybarite who—perhaps in reference to his life and
writing being one—could write in 1985 “I have published sixteen
books and bedded carloads of women.” He calls our time “the era of
the clitoris,” and himself “a gargantua of the bedsheets.” In his
total androcentrism he can even write “Women—women—great,
beautiful corpses where we wallow in folds of hope like the necrophiles
we are, before going off in our turn to die all alone on the high

In sex as in all subjects, Péloquin reveals a colossal egotism; he is
the Irving Layton of French Canada.


Péloquin, Claude., “A Dive into My Essence,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10758.