Black Diva: Selected Poems, 1982-1986


46 pages
ISBN 0-920717-54-3
DDC C841'.54





Translated by Daniel Sloate

Marguerite Andersen is a professor of French studies at the University
of Guelph.


With Black Diva, Guernica presents to the English-speaking public
selected poems (1982–1986) by Jean-Paul Daoust that constitute a
lyrical exploration of homosexual love and the fear of solitude and

Daoust is one of the major figures within the Quebec poetry scene.
Actively involved in many literary magazines, he has, since 1976,
published more than a dozen books of his own poetry, as well as a poetic
novel, Les cendres bleues (Governor General’s Award, 1990), an
autobiographical text that tells of the seductive relationship between a
young boy and an older man.

Sloate, who translated the texts published in Black Diva, has done so
with sensitivity and a good understanding of Daoust’s rhythm—which
can be very measureful, yet at the same time overpoweringly strong. As
André Roy says in his preface, Daoust “laughs, cries, desires,
somersaults so he won’t get dizzy.” It is an act that is difficult
to follow.

Poet of the city, like Baudelaire, and of North America, like Kerouac,
Daoust is critical of both. And of fascism. The Vatican. The Pentagon.
TV programs. Etc. Aware and existentially afraid of solitude and death,
he celebrates love, which makes solitude crumble away to dust and puts a
stop to time. It is homosexual love? So what? says Daoust. As long as
love allows us to give the sky a face and to soar “into the blue of
the air,” there to float “free and happy” in “the impetuous
beauty” of the universe, who cares?


Daoust, Jean-Paul., “Black Diva: Selected Poems, 1982-1986,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,