Fragile Moments

Description

93 pages
$9.95
ISBN 0-920428-74-6

Publisher

Year

1985

Contributor

Translated by Barry Callaghan

Julie Rekai Rickerd is a Toronto broadcaster and public relations
consultant.

Review

Quebec poet Jacques Brault’s Fragile Moments is a tender, intimate, and moving collection. The themes of love, separation, and death are intermingled with nature and its endless variations. The seasons reflect the many moods and emotional responses of the protagonist to his environment.

Brault’s imagery is filled with birds, animals, forests, and flowers, all within a framework of changes. His separation is physical as well as natural, evocative of nature’s constant cycle of death and re-birth. Brault’s words are carefully chosen to create a smooth, gentle and haunting rhythm. He undertakes his spiritual journey with eyes wide open.

The English translation, by Barry Callaghan, retains the poetic elements of Brault’s collection but it is very much Callaghan’s interpretation of the poems, not a direct translation. The reader is constantly tempted to cross-reference from French to English, English to French.

The physical lay-out of the poems, French on one side, English opposite is common enough these days, but the actual positioning of the lines is unusual. Often there are but six lines to each full page, sometimes only one, a title. The effect produced adds nothing to the work itself and gives the reader an uncomfortable sense of waste.

Fragile Moments is a fine example of sensitive, perceptive, and evocative poetry both in English and French and, packaging aside, a valuable contribution to literature by two of Canada’s distinguished contemporary writers.

Citation

Brault, Jacques, “Fragile Moments,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35891.