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Cover of the book "Distantly," co-translated by Cynthia Hogue.
May 2022

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Nicole Brossard
Translated by: 
Sylvain Gallais
Cynthia Hogue

This bilingual edition of Nicole Brossard’s lyrical poetry is a sequence of lush, taut cityscapes. Known for her elliptical and materially grounded poetics, Brossard creates an intimate series of poems drawn loosely from urban experience. The poems combine to give an evocative distillation of postmodern urban life with a sharp sense of cultural and gendered histories of violence and beauty, and struggles for survival and intimacy. The poems capture the emotional and ecological surroundings of each city and its people. The cities in Brossard’s poems feel surreal, and in them dwell survivors of “misfortunes,” living in urban landscapes with their “gleaming debris” and “bridges, ghats, / rivers in a time of peace and torture.” These poems gesture toward a transmuted social context and toward a quest “to meet the horizon the day after the horizon.” 


Sylvain Gallais is a retired faculty member of the School of International Letters and Cultures at ASU.

Cynthia Hogue is professor emeritus in the Department of English at ASU, where she held the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry for several years.

Praise for this book

“One of the most outstanding writers of her generation, known for her feminist commitment and innovative aesthetics, Brossard here turns her incisive imagination to cities, evoking them through details that range from the austere to the flamboyant. ... Gallais and Hogue capture all the complexity of Brossard's subtle implications and slippery imagery in a translation that reads with the grace and conviction of the original.”

Cole Swensen
Author of "Art in Time"

“To accompany Brossard in poetry through her many cities, in the marvelous English versions of Gallais and Hogue, is to be captivated again by the world we are always — almost — on the brink of losing or ruining. Her cities float before our eyes as desire incarnate, though she does not ignore that they are riddled with inequalities, contused by environmental degradation, jostled by misapprehensions and just plain tired. Brossard’s steady and generous gaze infuses joy despite adversity.”

Erin Moure
Author of "The Elements"