Discover the canadian cities in the company of writers

Photo: British Council, Eric Bent, Productions Spectrum
In Montreal, the meeting brought together the Northern Irish Rachel McCrum, poet Jonathan Lamy and the artist Moe Clark.

In the stones of the walls, the poets see the stories, hear songs distant. What are crates of resonance which reverberates the roar of cities. During the year 2017, the literary program Walking Cities has brought together canadian writers and English to make them work in the big cities of Canada : Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. The whole thing is organized by the British Council of Canada, where the high representation of English. Videos that are drawn from them were launched in December and are now online and accessible to all.


In Montreal, the meeting was attended by the poet québécois Jonathan Lamy, the only francophone of the project as a whole, the multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark, a native of Alberta, and living in Montreal, canada and Northern Ireland, Rachel McCrum, which was the first fall in Montreal.


Strolling near the Jean-Talon market, Rachel McCrum remembers that there was once, before the establishment of the market in 1933, the Shamrock Lacrosse Club. This stadium was built by the irish community of Montreal. It is known that lacrosse is a sport inherited from the indian tradition. However, in the 1880s, lacrosse League prohibited the Indians to play in the association. More than a century later, Moe Clark, who was of the origins of the cree, reminds us that, in this language, the month of October is the moon of the leaves falling. The month of September is the moon of the flight to the house, for the geese, hummingbirds and butterflies. The month of November, as to him, is that of the gel. Jonathan Lamy speaks, as to him, of winter as the season chosen to turn to his interiority, away from the hustle and bustle and closer to the creation.


We arrive in Winnipeg by the voice of the poet Katherena Vermette, on the Red river at the confluence of the Assiniboine river. When they arrived, the indigenous saulteaux were first found piles of corpses of Assiniboine and Cree, all died of the small pox. Established on the places, which they called ” paradise “, the Saulteaux, were then pushed towards the north by the british settlers and by the expansion of the city of Winnipeg.


The sides of Katherena Vermette, the scottish poet Harry Giles draws attention to a monument of Winnipeg erected in honor of the ” Selkirk Settlers “, these scottish settlers poor dispossessed of their land and recruited by Thomas Douglas, earl of Selkirk, to populate the land surrounding the Red river. This monument has only one other identical twin, in Scotland. For Giles, this monument is in fact an insult to the memory of these settlers, whose migration has been initially caused by an injustice.


Where languages intersect


It is with the rain as it landed at Vancouver, on Rain, a poem by Susan Telfer : “Sometimes, I want to be the rain that I cursed, falling in the cup of my love, and quench his thirst” (free translation). The poet Dina Del Bucchia meeting with Deanna Rodger and Dean Atta, in the United Kingdom. For Deanna Rodger, poetry is first and foremost a research opportunity. About his performance, Dean Atta explained that it is a bit like taking off his clothes in public and refrain from the back…


In Toronto, it follows the poet of the canadian Dionne Brand, who has lived there for 47 years, and the English Vahni Capildeo, in an ethnic neighbourhood around Bloor Street, where languages intersect without understanding. Here, we speak Korean, hindi ; later on, the Ukrainian ; and finally, the Spanish. Both poets look forward to the human dimension of the houses of this district, which has not yet been invaded by the gigantic towers, the product of the booms, from which we see the passers-by, while below, like little robots. The British Vahni Capildeo, for its part, discovered Toronto through the prose of Austin Clarke. The writer paints a winter city in monochrome, where everything is located between the black and the white. Dionne Brand says that in London, a city she did not know, she was, by reason of the structure, the architecture spread by the british Empire. Toronto, find poets, is also a quiet town, where you hear less car horns, human voices. “It is the presence of silence, rather than the absence of silence. “Vahni Capildeo has noted that the British, unlike other peoples, do not have the habit of interrupting them when they speak.