23 NOVEMBRE, 2015

L’année 2015, à date, a été marquée par deux événements capitaux: Montcalm et Wolfe de Roch Carrier a été finaliste du Prix du gouverneur générale, Traduction, et… ma traduction de Arvida de Samuel Archibald a été finaliste du prix Giller.
Voici une photo de l’équipe Arvida au gala: moi-même, le directeur de Biblioasis Dan Wells, Samuel Archibald et l’éditeur Stephen Henigan.


1 JANVIER, 2015

Deux nouvelles traductions ont vu le jour en 2014: le deuxième tome des mémoires montréalaises de Jean Claude Germain, Of Jesuits and Bohemians (Le Coeur Rouge de la bohème), et la double biographie monumentale de Roch Carrier qui raconte l’histoire des deux généraux voué à mourir sur les Plaines d’Abraham, Montcalm et Wolfe. Me voice dans leur compagnie à l’évènement Books & Breakfast, en novembre, 2014.


3 FÉVRIER, 2014

Of Jesuits and Bohemians (Le Coeur rouge de la bohème), ma traduction du deuxième tome des mémoires de Jean-Claude Germain, sortira au mois de mai. Le livre parle des deux mondes qui ont accompagné  la jeunesse de l’auteur: son école jesuite, et le monde bohémien de l’époque, avec ses attirances irrésistibles.



5 DÉCEMBRE, 2013

En bas, l’interview que j’ai donné à Julien Russell Brunet de Walrus Magazine, à l’occasion  de mon prix du gouverneur général, 2013. En anglais.

Photograph by Cpl. Carbe Orellana, Rideau Hall, OSGG

Donald Winkler (left) accepts his prize from Governor General David Johnston.

Winnipeg-born translator and filmmaker Donald Winkler came to French through his mother, who moved from Romania to Canada around 1920, when she was fifteen, following the early death of her own mother. “She studied French there, and had this wonderful, idealistic attachment to the language,” he explains over the phone. “It was connected to her nostalgia for her youth.” Winkler subsequently took courses in university and, in the mid-1960s, spent a year and a half in Paris “teaching English and going to movies.” Last week, in a ceremony at Rideau Hall, David Johnston presented Winkler with his third Governor General’s Literary Award for translation—for Pierre Nepveu’s poetry collection The Major Verbs (Les verbes majeurs). In Winkler’s remarks of acceptance, he said, “My responsibility is to treat every text as an offering, to be transformed, but hallowed, as it is shepherded from one tongue to another.” He is married to Sheila Fischman, an award-winning translator in her own right—in his words, the “doyenne of Canadian literary translation.” The couple live together in Montreal. Julien Russell Brunet: Do you think about adopting another writer’s voice when you translate? Or do you approach it more literally? Donald Winkler: You can talk about feeling your way into the identity of the writer you’re translating. But, for me, it happens more on the level of the language. I don’t want to diminish it in any way, and I’m not, but existentially translating is a very, very fascinating and sophisticated word game.

The Major Verbs book cover

Véhicule Press


Julien Russell Brunet: How does poetry compare with the other forms you’ve taken on? Donald Winkler: Poetry is the pure, intense experience. When you’re trying to choose the words you want to use, you have to be guided by the context in which the words are written. Sometimes, it’s the meaning that takes priority. Sometimes, it’s the music. Sometimes, it’s the rhythm. You have to gauge these things as you’re going along. It’s kind of like a Rubik’s Cube. Julien Russell Brunet: You’ve translated Nepveu on several different occasions now. Why are you drawn to his writing? Donald Winkler: I cut my teeth in translation on the poetry of Roland Giguère—an important Quebec poet who was influenced by the surrealists and lived through the Duplessis regime. His poetry is tight and surreal and full of verve and wordplay, and that was a real revelation to me. In some sense, I guess I was looking for something that would offer the same kind of challenge, and I found that in Nepveu’s writing. I immediately felt a closeness to his poetry. I’m very happy I was able to win this award for him. Julien Russell Brunet: I’m not sure many Anglophones are familiar with Nepveu’s work. How would you describe his poetry? Donald Winkler: It’s visceral. His images are very concrete—not naturalistic, but concrete. And there’s a kind of souffle and muscularity in his poetry, a kind of impetus where at times it’s like you’re tumbling down hill with the language. He’s a gentle, self-deprecating guy in person, but when he gets in the groove in his poetry, he’ll take off on these surreal riffs. He’ll just let himself go and you have to keep up with him. Julien Russell Brunet: If you weren’t a translator and filmmaker, what would you be? Donald Winkler: Growing up, I wanted to be a shortstop, but I didn’t have the gift. I’d still like to be a shortstop. Julien Russell Brunet: You’ve worked on a variety of different projects now. Poetry and novels. Books on aviation, Glenn Gould, the cosmos, Riopelle, etc. Not to mention your film work. Any favourites? Donald Winkler: Seyhmus Dagtekin’s stylized memoir, To the Spring, by Night, was a real labour of love. This is a guy who lives in Paris, but grew up in a tiny Kurdish village in the Turkish mountains. It was isolated, had no electricity, virtually no literacy, and was almost animist in nature: every rock, every spring had a spirit associated with it. He wrote this book that evoked that childhood and it’s absolutely beautiful. The French is simple and stripped-down and I knew it would be hard to reproduce, but I fell in love with it.

 29 NOVEMBRE, 2013

Donald Winkler is presented the Governor-General’s Literary Award for translation from French to English by Governor-General David Johnston during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Nov. 28, 2013. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Le  28 novembre, au Rideau Hall à Ottawa,on m’a décerné le prix du gouverneur général, 2013, pour la traduction français-anglais du recueil de poésie de Pierre Nepveu The Major Verbs (Les Verbes majeurs). Ce qui suit sont mes propos, en anglais, ce soir-là. “Tonight, in this hall, we are honouring language and its practitioners who, however unlike they may be one from the other, are all intensely aware that this human attribute is a thing of great power and nobility, but also that beyond this precinct there are arenas, not far off, where it is systematically tarnished, degraded, and impoverished. Where words of insight, words of wonder, are recast as words of pretence, words of evasion, words of belligerence, words of contempt. It has ever been thus. As a translator, my responsibility is to treat every text as an offering, to be transformed, but hallowed, as it is shepherded from one tongue to another. And my accountability is not only to my words and to their readers, but to one whose words, in another language, were set down at great personal cost, perhaps, and whose endeavour and intent must be given their due. This can only heighten one’s sensitivity to the fact that in a world where much hangs in the balance, that balance may be tipped significantly by the weight of words, and how we choose to deploy them. “We will anxiously monitor the storms on the sun, we will welcome its fiery tongues, we will be nothing but spirit when the cold centuries come.” Pierre Nepveu. May language be not a smoke screen, but a beacon. Thank you very much.”

 24 NOVEMBRE, 2013

EUCALYPTUS Eucalyptus, de  Mauricio Segura (Biblioasis Publishers, traduction DW) a été déclaré un des  100 meilleurs livres de 2013 par des éditeurs à    

21 NOVEMBRE, 2013

Le 19 novembre, au gala du Quebec Writers’ Federation au Théâtre Corona à Montréal, on m’a décerné le prix de traduction du fondation Cole pour ma traduction du recueil de poésie de Pierre Nepveu, The Major Verbs (Les Verbes majeurs). Une soirée joyeuse et chaleureuse. Pierre Nepveu était présent, et beaucoup d’amis. Mes félicitations à tous les lauréats et finalistes.

20 NOVEMBRE, 2013

20131120-untitled-128Ce soir, parmis un étalage impressionnant d’avions d’époque au Musée de l’aviation et de l’espace à Ottawa, le lancement de ma traduction de Taking Aviation to New Heights: A Biography of Pierre Jeanniot (Pierre Jeanniot: Aux commandes du ciel), publiée par les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa. Présents étaient M. Jeanniot, Jacqueline Cardinal, co-auteur du livre (avec Laurent Lapierre), Lara Mainville, directrice de la maison d’édition, et plusieurs amis at anciens collègues de M. Jeanniot. Le livre rend hommage à un homme qui a fait des contributions énormes à l’aviation canadien et mondiale, et qui a mené une vie remarquable. Un deuxième lancement aura lieu à l’École des Hautes Études Commerciales à Montréal le 28 novembre.

18 NOVEMBRE, 2013

Le 13 novembre, à Toronto, j’ai été déclaré le lauréat, 2013, pour le prix du gouverneur général, traduction français-anglais. Le livre ainsi honoré est ma traduction de Les Verbes majeurs, un recueil de poésie de Pierre Nepveu, avec le titre anglais The Major Verbs, publié par Signal Editions. Le prix sera décerné le 28 novembre, à Ottawa. The Major Verbs est aussi finaliste cette année pour le prix de traduction du Quebec Writers’ Association. Le gagnant sera révélé à un gala à Montréal, le 19 novembre. Le 20 novembre je serai à Ottawa pour le lancement de Taking Aviation to New Heights: A Biography of Pierre Jeanniot, de Jacqueline Cardinal et Laurent Lapierre, que j’ai traduit pour les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa. L’évènement aura lieu au Musée de l’aviation et de l’espace du Canada.