From 'To bring together the continents'


Saint-Éloi is a Haitian-Canadian poet and publisher. His politics are anarchist and cosmopolitan. For him, borders are colonial: this comes through clearly in this dense prose poem, arguably his ars poetica, which engages with Éduoard Glissant’s relational poetics and Aimé Césaire’s seminal work Cahier d’un retour au pays Natal or Notebook of a Return to My Native Land.

The ‘crazy horse’ at the poem’s outset references Lakota leader Crazy Horse, who fought against encroaching European settlers in nineteenth century America. The poem, then, is anti-colonial and anti-establishment; its path is made not with maps but with its eyes, and it can’t be restrained.

As always, we only had time to work on two paragraphs of seven, but this week’s discussions felt particularly fruitful: we reached for ‘horsey’ words like ‘trample’ and ‘jump’, rearranged phrases that over-complicated the English (‘merely to mouth’ became ‘speaks’, ‘the astonished wayfarer’s eyes’ became ‘the traveller’s wide eyes’), capitalised ‘Game’ to give it the necessary weight.

Helen Bowell, Workshop facilitator