Transfigurations by ED Blodgett and Jacques Brault

TransfigurationTransfiguration by E.D. Blodgett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me see if I’ve got this straight: a renga poem is a collaborative effort between two or more poets who take turns composing alternating stanzas, usually of a specific number of syllables. Typically about nature. The way that ED Blodgett and Jacques Brault (who should both be listed as authors, not only Blodgett) have used this in their beautiful book Transfiguration is to each write a stanza in their native tongue, send it to the other, write a response, and then translate each other’s work. Each page has a short poem on it, written (if I am understanding the execution correctly) together by both poets, translated by both poets, in both languages. It’s genius. Beautiful. The poems are accompanied by these impressionistic ink wash sketches of landscapes and birds which only make sense if you don’t look too closely at them; when you stare they dissolve into masses of shades and lines. They’re the polar opposite of the poems, which reveal more and more meaning as you stare deeper into them. I love it. It’s wonderful. An incredibly unique idea for truly bilingual work impressively executed by two Canadian poets.

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