La Peuplade

Cette maison n’est pas la mienne

La Peuplade Books

Cette maison n’est pas la mienne

François Turcot

Poetry

Winner of the 2009 Prix Émile-Nelligan, Cette maison n’est pas la mienne is an ambitious and inventive book, featuring four characters (Enid Marsh, Andrew McBeth, Cliff Robertson and the poet himself), all related to the story of an (un)inhabited house. Composed of five movements using a narrative style of poetry, this complex work—although never abstruse—plunges the reader into a reflection on the successive lives of the houses we inhabit, the share of invention granted to the photo archives, and the flawed memory that inscribes them in our lives.

Around a table where the story of a photo album comes to life, where hallucinated hands and shapes bustle about, we witness in this third book by François Turcot a multitude of encounters, all governed by imaginary lives. The house—like a kaleidoscope turned upon itself, or a Rubik’s cube whose total number of sides is impossible to observe all at once—is here inhabited by motives and voices, reassembling before our very eyes.

With a cover illustrated by Caroline Loncol Daigneault, Cette maison n’est pas la mienne fully demonstrates the originality of François Turcot, who manages with this book located somewhere between fiction and autobiography to create bright poetic spaces that are discomforting, fuelled by rigorous linguistic research.

Publication: October 5, 2009
104 pages, 978-2-923530-12-3, $18.95

Praise for Cette maison n’est pas la mienne

Using a variety of forms ranging from the narrative poem to the lyrical fragment, this book gets into the mystery of memory and generations, of presence and absence, and into the world of intimacy, which it resurfaces, adding a mesmerizing uncanniness, tinged with abstraction. With unique sensitivity and a pleasant firmness of style, Cette maison n’est pas la mienne suggests a new tone in Quebec contemporary poetry.

Pierre Nepveu, Fondation Émile-Nelligan

Built by Irish immigrants (the McBeths) in an America just out of the Revolutionary War, the house depicted by Turcot embodies the creative act as a breakout from the past and the foundation of an asylum among the landscape’s uncanniness. By way of diversion from one of the flagship images of poetic intimacy—the house—Turcot commits poetry to a sociocultural survey: poetic language enables a rethinking of the American community as the sum of a radical intimacy and of imaginative journeys, intertwining and blending into matter.

Rosalie Lessard, Spirale

In this book, the poetic image stands brilliantly alongside the narration, both being controlled and constructing together much more than just a story: they make us experience this story. I [want to say] “fascination,” indeed, but of course the success of the whole experience relies on the writing of François Turcot, who keeps us awake by a learned mechanism of projection in which light and shadow are used to provide movement and form.

Isabelle Gaudet-Labine, Estuaire

The house described by François Turcot is a real “ghost-summoning machine.” Old photographs, bits of found texts or light shining through the windows gradually reveal to the reader the residence’s history.

Catherine Perrin spoke with the author about the unique form of his poetic text.

Entrevue avec Catherine Perrin, Vous m'en lirez tant

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