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Michel Albert

Born in 1957, Michel Albert holds a bachelor’s degree in French literature from McGill University. He began his doctoral studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1985; His thesis is entitled The Theory of the Game in the Interactive Novel on Computer. He worked in the film industry in Quebec for 20 years, as a machinist.

He has translated several works into French: Playground, Georges Bowering (Triptyque 1999), David McFadden’s Still Life with Fruits (Triptych, 1999), Irving Layton’s L’Essentiel (Triptyque Edition, 2000) Journal of Cabbagetown, by Juan Butler (Triptych Edition, 2003). He also translated into English A dive into my essence, by Claude Péloquin (Guernica editions, 1990).

In 1981 he was awarded the Scarlett Key Award from McGill University.

Translator: Donald Winkler is a Montreal based literary translator and documentary filmmaker. In the realm of poetry, he has made films on Irving Layton, P.K. Page, F.R. Scott, among others. And, among others, he has translated Roland Giguère and Pierre Nepveu. He is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for French to English translation.

A New Beginning

Nuclear bombs
are falling on us still
fifty years after Hiroshima
umbrellas on the water
separation agreement
a sheet of legal sized paper
courtesy of a bailiff
your presence not needed
end of story


Nothing and everything draws me to her
all very well to keep my distance
face the facts
make the allowances
nothing helps
I remain vulnerable
to her courage, her frankness
her evolving world
I feel her wakening
in each pore of her skin
that beckons me and unsettles me

You’re getting all worked up old boy
Let’s see what time has in store for us

A piece of rope
robust enough
to hang yourself
a chair
then tip yourself
into the void
an airborne temptation


In the right direction

I have no faith now in defeatism
in buckling under to your fate
there’s the fear of the unknown, yes
of fibers that peel away
in sensory levitation
there’s so much fear
within us
when it kicks in
all that is retreats
into heat and time

We must stop dreading
the thorns that score us
better to lose our footing
and butt into that other self
in a lust for life
we are bound in the right direction


From New Shoes on Scorched Earth
by Michel Albert
translated by Donald Winkler
Original © 2000 Michel Albert
Translation © 2017 Donald Winkler
Published by Ekstasis Editions