Pierrette Requier’s first book of poems, details from the edge of the village, offers a single stunning narrative arc that is novelistic in its sweep. A bilingual component merges northern Alberta French seamlessly into the flow as she embraces two centuries through the telling.
Pierrette Requier wears the MaGarrigle sister’s ballet slippers rather than cork boots when she’s log rolling through the jams. She mixes French language bon mots and family chestnuts with English language in a Peace country memoir melange. Ms. Requier’s poems are primarily anecdotal or descriptive remembrances, and display the loving attention to language that western haibun poet/authors employ in reverence to Basho’s perennial classic travel diary Narrow Road to the Interior. Rich is a word I find myself reaching for, or sumptuous. Not in the sense of Rococo filigree or brittle marzipan, but in the sense of good country macrame´: knotted and beautifully homespun and functional:…This book has all the virtues of a compelling memoir; it’s firmly rooted in place and times; slowly an loving places the pointillist dots, draws the reader into the family circle, growing up rural French in north-central Alberta; clearly delineates the family dramas, sisterly secrets, adolescent fantasies, rites of passage.
…the use of the present tense and exacting detail give these poems a hyper-realistic effect, such as you might experience when viewing cinéma-vérité or the paintings of Chuck Close…. It’s almost eerie how immediately the poet is able to place her reader within the living minutiae of her book’s private history. One thing that creates this verisimilitude is the naturalistic pacing of her writing; another, strangely enough, is a perfectly digestible amount of bilingualism. It lends a texture of specificity to the work, the unpredictable truths of the real world creeping in again, something that happens on multiple levels, creating layers of colour and credibility…
Alberta’s Peace country, on the farm and into the intermingled lives of a huge family – these prose poems are wonderful places to be, the characters delightful to meet. The details bring forth a ring of truth. A family’s story is presented in the same fashion a great cook concocts a fine stew. Complicated, full of amazing ingredients from the home garden. Delicious.
Pierrette’s work is about speaking from the margins – from the almost forgotten fringes of French on the northern prairies, and from the liminal lingual space where English and French talk to each other. Her poems come from these edges but speak to the heart.
- Shortlisted for the Alberta Book Awards Best Poetry Book, 2010
- Longlisted – Alberta Reader’s Choice Award 2010
- Shortlisted – Edmonton Book Prize
About the Author
Pierrette Requier, a long time member of the Stroll of Poets Society of Edmonton, facilitates the Wind Eye Poetry Seminars. For the last ten years, she has been involved in spoken word performances as a student and as a group facilitator. She has performed her poetry and monologues in both English and French in festivals and readings across Alberta, including Edmonton’s 2007 Word! Gala, Calgary’s 2008 Francophonétique, the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival and Edmonton’s Night of Artists as a member of Tangent Lines. She has been a participant in a French writing and performance group Les déesses de l’écriture since 2005. Her poetry has appeared on CBC’s Wild Rose country, in Legacy: Alberta’s Heritage Magazine, Other Voices: Edmonton’s Journal of the Literary and Visual Arts, and in the anthology Writing the Land: Alberta Through its Poets.
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