Born in 1946, in Saint-Simon, on New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, Herménégilde Chiasson is considered one of the foremost artisans of modern Acadian society. He holds bachelor degrees from the Université de Moncton and Mount Allison University, a Master of Fine Arts from State University of New York and a Ph.D. from the Université de Paris 1 (Sorbonne). He has worked as a researcher, a journalist and radio and television director for Radio-Canada, a film director and a professor at the Université de Moncton. He has published more than 25 books, written around 30 plays, produced 15 films and participated in close to 150 exhibitions. He has been president and founder of several major cultural organizations in New Brunswick and has received many awards and distinctions for his work. In 2003, he became the 29th Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick and the third Acadian to hold this position.
To Live and Die in Scoudouc
First published in 1974, Mourir à Scoudouc emerged out of a period of cultural awakening. Chiasson’s poems denounced the narrow limitations of the past and traced the lines of a fresh collective vision. The poems were lyrical, referentially modern, and steeped in the rhythms and forms that had emerged from the Americas, Europe, and India.
Now, more than 40 years later, Herménégilde Chiasson is considered to be the father of Acadian modernism, and Mourir à Scoudouc is widely regarded as one of the foundational works of modern Acadian literature. Several of the poems, including the oft-anthologized long poem, “Eugénie Melanson,” have now achieved iconic status, appearing frequently in books, magazines, and films — in French and in English.
To Live and Die in Scoudouc is the first English edition of this seminal collection. It replicates Chiasson’s design of the 2017 edition and features his own photographs as well as his new introductory essay.
Although several of the poems have been previously translated, To Live and Die in Scoudouc features fresh renditions by Jo-Anne Elder, who worked closely with Chiasson on the translations. [WEBSITE]
A Note on the Translator:
Jo-Anne Elder has translated many of Chiasson’s works of poetry, including Beautitudes and Conversations and, in collaboration with Fred Cogswell, Climates. She and Fred Cogswell also translated and edited Unfinished Dreams, the first anthology of Acadian poetry published in English.