Governor General's Literary Awards

La raison des fleurs

La raison des fleurs

By Michaël Trahan

Le Quartanier; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia



For years I was haunted by the waves, the surf, the memory of a body caught on the bottom of the sea. I was trying to work through a scene I couldn’t get over. I lived in a dream that did not belong to me, a photograph taken in the 1950s, then forgotten or lost before it was developed. Someone discovered the negative by chance in a flea market half a century later. A woman stands on the beach. The sun is setting on a horizon of blue, pink, and purple. The sea rolls in at her feet. The woman is looking into the distance. We can barely see the profile of her face. It is not really an answer. It is a fiction of disappearance, an investigation into the silence of a few images I’ve been dragging around for too long. It is a requiem: a song that calms both the dead and the living. It is the logic of ink pushed to the very limit of truth.

"Entering these pages means wandering into the maze of human density, both philosophical and physical, hanging onto reality by a thread of little details. It is vulnerability explored—and tamed. Calm, yet enchanting, this requiem reveals the potential expanse of silence and disappearance. Michaël Trahan has penned a complete poetic experience."

Peer assessment committee: Jean-Marc Desgent, Lise Gaboury-Diallo, Marie-Andrée Gill

Michael Trahan
Photo: Justine Latour


Michaël Trahan was born in 1984 and grew up in Acton Vale, in Quebec’s Montérégie region, before settling in Montréal in the early 2000s. With Le Quartanier, he published La raison des fleurs and Nœud coulant (Émile-Nelligan prize, Festival de la poésie de Montréal prize, and Alain-Grandbois prize from Académie des lettres du Québec). He is also the author of an essay on the perception of the Marquis de Sade in the twentieth century and a doctoral thesis on the readability of contemporary French poetry. He is the literary director of the magazine Estuaire.

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