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First published in 1988, Les heures marks a turning point in Fernand Ouellette's poetics while at the same time marking a memorable date in Quebec literature. Sparked by the death of his father, Les heures was written in a month, a feverish period of work that produced 81 poems to match the age of his father upon his death. The book has been described as an attempt to take back death, to hold it at bay through poetry.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781550718287
Publisher: Guernica Editions, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/15/2014
Series: Essential Translations Series , #17
Pages: 111
Product dimensions: 5.02(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.32(d)

About the Author

Born in Montreal, Fernand Ouellette is a prolific writer, with works translated in over a dozen languages. His awards include: the Prix France-Qubec; three Governor's General Awards; the Prix France-Canada; the Prix Athanase-David; and the Prix Alain-Grandbois. He is an honorary member of the Union des crivains du Qubec as well as of the Socit littraire de Laval. In 2005, he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Qubec. In 2008, his poetry earned him, in Paris, the Grand Prix international de posie de langue franaise Lopold Sdar Senghor, and in 2009, in Benin, the Grand Prix du Salon international des Potes francophones.

Table of Contents


He was for us 13

Being on death's list 14

When struck by terror 15

He was not 16

The happiness he once enjoyed 18

Could he have 19

He got exhausted 20

He would, when scared 21

There were 22

Dragged down 23

His smiles 24

Those moments 25

Some days 26

We could 27

He would trip 29

Here then 30


There was 33

He was unable 34

The fires of opprobrium 36

Only recently 37

He grabbed 38

From second 39

Entity 40

As long as he spoke 41

During the night 42

Our eyes drew 43

We would look at him 44

With a hint of a smile 45

A silence in profusion 46

Our eyes bounced 47

He was victim 48

Beyond the soundless upheavals 49

The unending 50

We should have noticed 51

He had 52

From his body 53

Breathing 54

The closer he got 55

He did not have 56

He hurtled 57

He had come 58

He was unaware 60

His breathing 61

The body, gnarled 62


The morning 65

Perhaps he was 66

Night 67

It was five a.m. 68

We could no longer move 69

There was 70

Like on a wound 71

Without a sound 72

For days 73

The room 74

His body accepted 75

Peace 76

The underside of 78

A language silence 80

Blood thickened 81

We should have handed 83

He became colder 83


If only his masked face 87

At the outmost 88

His being collected 89

Sea for presence 90

Weighed down by silence 91

The occasion was special 92

His life 93

We lacked 94

The dust from the sun 95

He was 96

It was not spite 97

Instead of light 98

He stepped 99

Leaving was for him 100

He crossed over 101

His barely recognizable corpse 102


We sat 105

When will we rise 106

For time invisible 107

We can never 108

A Note by Antonio D'Alfonso 109

Acknowledgements 112

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