“This collection, with its ethereal and pared-down style and fine and grave content, delivers a finesse of vocabulary and a lightness of breath akin to ash fluttering in the space of melancholy. The writing speaks to a sense of fragility in the Other and resonates in the reader’s soul for a long time.”
—Peer assessment committee: Sonia Cotten, Mona Latif-Ghattas, David Ménard
Soot, cries, stars, snows, and a few blossoms, isn’t the poem, like ashes, what we gather before dispersal? And the gesture, the poet’s breath, that of a washer of ashes? In a succession of slides, collisions, and desertions, without ever avoiding the heart, the poems in La société des cendres attempt to identify the mark—volatile, certainly, but nonetheless fascinating—of the tumults, splashes, and mysteries of our presence and absence vis-à-vis others and the world.
The second part, Des lames entières (first published as an artist’s book with etchings by François-Xavier Marange), lingers on what builds or hinders movements that are sometimes cutting, sometimes in-depth, from ‘how to be’ to loss and its pains, to open up a passage, between desire and fear, for potential transformations.
A major voice in contemporary poetry, since 1996 Martine Audet has published a dozen collections (primarily with Éditions du Noroît and Hexagone), artist’s books, and two books for children. Her poems have been translated into German, English, Catalan, Spanish, and Italian. Among other distinctions, she has received the Prix Alain-Grandbois, the Prix Estuaire, and the Grand prix Québecor 2020 (jointly with Jean-Philippe Bergeron) from the Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières. She has also been a finalist for many prizes, including the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Grand prix du livre de la Ville de Montréal. A member of the Académie des lettres du Québec, Martine Audet lives in Montréal.