Erin Moure


Griffin Poetry Prize 2008
Canadian Shortlist

Book: Notebook of Roses and Civilization

Translators: Robert Majzels and Erin Moure

Poet: Nicole Brossard

Publisher: Coach House Books

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Robert Majzels, Erin Moure and Nicole Brossard read Soft Link 3

Soft Link 3, Robert Majzels and Erin Moure translating from Nicole Brossard

Soft Link 3

It’s names of places, cities, climates that haunt. Characters. Clear mornings, a fine rain that falls all day, rare images from elsewhere and America, two natural disasters that make us close ranks amid corpses, it’s quiet or violet acts, mortars, ice cubes in glasses at cocktail hour, noise of dishes or a slight stutter that momentarily torments, a slap, kiss, it’s names of cities like Venice or Reading, Tongue and Pueblo, names of characters Fabrice Laure or Emma. Words honed over years and novels, words we spoke with halting breath laughing spitting sucking an olive, verbs we add to the pleasure of lips, to success, to sure death. It’s words like cheek or knee and still others further than we can see that leave us teetering on the edge of the abyss, to stretch like cats in morning it’s words that keep us up till dawn or make us flag down a cab on a weekday night when the city’s asleep before midnight and solitude is caught like an abscess in the jaw. It’s words spoken from memory, in envy or pride often words uttered with love while layhing our hands behind the head or pouring a glass of port. It’s words whose etymology must be sought, then projected on a wall of sound so the cries of pain and sighs of pleasure that wander in dreams and documents lay siege to the mysterious darkness of the heart. It’s words like bay, hill, wadi, via, rue, strada, dispersed through the dictionary between flamboyancies and neons, burial mounds and forests. It’s words of the arms of the sea, ensembles of sense that claw or soft at our chests, cold shivers rivulets and fear abrupt in the back while we try to fissure the smooth time of the future with trenchant quotations. It’s words that swallow fire and life, who knows now if they’re Latin French Italian Sanskrit Mandarin Galician Arab or English, if they conceal a number an animal or old anguishes impatient to shoot up before our very eyes like cloned shadows replete with light and great myths.

From Notebook of Roses and Civilization
English translation copyright © Robert Majzels and Erin Moure, 2007


Griffin Poetry Prize 2006
Canadian Shortlist

Book: Little theatres

Poet: Erin Moure

Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Erin Moure reads Homage to the Mineral of the Onion (I)

Homage to the Mineral of the Onion (I), by Erin Moure

Homage to the Mineral of the Onion (I)

In the onion, there’s
something of fire. That fire known as
Fog. The onion is the way
fog has of entering the earth.

Into the soil. Through the green leaves of the onion.

Look how its leaves extend up into the air.
Look how, once cut,
an onion’s leaf has air inside it.

Air is the generosity of fog.
With fog, there is generosity on earth.
These two thoughts are identical.

They are two thoughts that sustain the earth.
In these bellicose days that promise wars,
look how the onion helps fog
to sustain the earth.

From Little theatres
Copyright © 2005 Erin Moure


Griffin Poetry Prize 2002
Canadian Shortlist

Book: Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person

Poet: Erin Moure

Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Erin Moure reads What, me, guard sheep?

What, me, guard sheep? by Erin Moure

What, me, guard sheep?

for Phil Hall

What, me, guard sheep?
I made that up; this is poetry.
It’s my soul that’s sheepish
Knows wind and sun
Grabs onto every Season and follows, looking.
Nature’s peaceful today; it’s empty
and it’s my pal.
But it saddens me: what if sunset
turns my lights out too
when the parking lot goes cold
and nightfall’s butterfly presses at my body,

But being sad isn’t all bad,
it’s fair enough and natural
What else is a soul for?
It’s so sure it exists
when the hand cuts flowers, it doesn’t cry out.

Like the racket of the mail truck
Coming around the curve of the avenue
My thoughts are happy.
Yet simply thinking this makes me glum,
For if they weren’t happy, there’d be more variety:
Instead of being happy and glum
They’d be joyful and happy. What the heck.

Thinking bugs me, like walking in the rain
When the bus goes by, a huge wind splattering greasy water.

Ambitions and desires? My head’s wet.
Being a poet isn’t an ambition,
it’s a version of being alone.

From Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person, by Eirin Moure
© 2001 Erin Mouré

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