Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street
A Flea the Size of Paris: The Fatras
FREE, everyone welcome!
When: Tue, October 3, 2017. 7:00 PM
Where: Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.
Additional Info: Presented by SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement.
The fatras is a form of medieval French verse dedicated to the impossible. A form of unsense verse that turns the animate world inside-out and takes apart the structures that wish to rule it. Its crass humour, often obscene, is directed at church and state, at bogus morality and the madness of war. All of the wildness of the fatras happens within a paradoxically rule-bound form, as if to mock the fraudulent elegance of the court and its love poetry. A fatras begins with a couplet, often lifted from a serious poem in high style. The first line of the couplet is then restated and “followed” by a 9-line sequence of non-sequiturs, dream-like shifts of scale and person, scatological or blasphemous jokes and slapstick routines, concluded by the repetition of the couplet’s second line. The ideational content is generated through puns, homonyms and rhyme. Only a few dozen fatras have survived, mostly written by the court poet Watriquet de Couvin, and performed together with a certain Raimondin. The nature of their collaboration is unknown – the poems may have been composed in advance or improvised in performance. It is not known whether or not they were accompanied by music. They have never before been translated into English.
Donato Mancini and Ted Byrne will present and read their translations of the fatras. Danielle LaFrance and Jacqueline Turner will respond to the original fatras, after which all of the poets will read some of their own poetry, either new fatras, or poetry that responds to the fatras. A general discussion will follow.
Jacqueline Turner has published four books of poetry with ECW Press: The Ends of the Earth (2013) Seven into Even (2006), Careful (2003), and Into the Fold (2000). Her current poetic work, Flourish, focuses on persistence and the perpetual. An untitled book of essays on the new nostalgia (among other subjects) and accompanying installation is in the works. She is a lecturer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design where she is currently designing a new creative/critical writing curriculum.
Donato Mancini makes poetry, bookworks, and visual art. His books and chapbooks include Snowline (2015), Loitersack (2014), Buffet World (2011), Fact ‘N’ Value (2011), Æthel (2007), and Ligatures (2005). Mancini’s published critical writing includes work on archival memory in Anamnesia: Unforgetting (2011), and a discourse analysis of poetry reviews in You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence (2012). His current book, Same Diff (2017), works at intersections of poetry, contemporary art, documentary cinema and social history. He is the 2017 writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor. From 2018-2020 he will be a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.
Danielle LaFrance is a poet, librarian, and militant. Since 1983 she has mostly resided on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. She is the author of Species Branding (2010), Friendly + Fire (2016), and the chapbook Pink Slip (2013). From 2012 to 2016 she co-organized, alongside Anahita Jamali Rad, the feminist materialist reading and journal series About a Bicycle. Recent attempts at Spanish-English poetry translations have been published on the online magazine inPeregrinos y sus Letras and in The Capilano Review. She works at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
Ted Byrne is a poet, translator, essayist and trade union rep. He was a member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, and is presently a member of the Lacan Salon and the Meschonnic Study Group. He periodically teaches poetry and poetics in the HUM 101 program at UBC. His most recent books are Beautiful Lies (2008) and Sonnets : Louise Labé (2011). A collection of "translations" from Louise Labé and Guido Cavalcanti is forthcoming in 2018.
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