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Entre Rive and Shore

Entre Rive and Shore

104 pages
Published:   March 28, 2023
Poetry  /  icehouse poetry
Paperback:   9781773102870    $19.95

Shortlisted, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

“I used to think this was a book about a disguise,
but now I know that it’s a book about translation.”

According to Cormier family lore, Pierrot Cormier escaped a British prison the night before the Acadian Deportation by disguising himself in a dress. In the invigorating, transliterative Entre Rive and Shore, Dominique Bernier-Cormier uses his ancestor’s escape to ponder what it means to live between two languages. Writing in a blend of English and French that evokes Chiac, “a living thing, growing gills, a voice from the future, prophetic and clear,” Bernier-Cormier probes the mutability of language and of translation.

A heady mix of English renderings of a single French poem, a Franco-fusion mélange of reflections on Acadian history and identity, and meditations on the evolution of language and the rapper Young Thug, Entre Rive and Shore exhibits “an eloquence we aren’t attuned to.” The result is protean, an exhilarating collection that reassesses what it means to live between two identities, two worlds, two languages.
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Dominique Bernier-Cormier is a Québécois/Acadian poet and translator. His first book, Correspondent, was longlisted for the Raymond Souster Award. He lives in Vancouver, where he writes and teaches in both English and French.


Shortlisted: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize


“From poetry to essay to diary entry, and with lucidity and frankness, Bernier-Cormier addresses the ever-delicate issues of language and history that are so crucial to Acadian identity. Blending legend with family history and a series of fantasist self-portraits, Entre Rive and Shore offers a mooring point between two cultures and two realities. Brilliant in its form and content, Entre Rive and Shore offers a refreshing and innovative view on our future as Acadians.” — Herménégilde Chiasson, author of To Live and Die in Scoudouc

“With turns of language both striking and gentle, Entre Rive and Shore invites us into the tender and haunted space between English and French. Translation ‘weaves itself into a dress of wind’ as we are swept up in its violence and distorted offerings of home. Bernier-Cormier’s use of metaphor and imagery is ‘bone-bright’ and will fill you with awe.” — Selina Boan, author of Undoing Hours

“The poems and texts of Entre Rive and Shore unravel family memory and history to create a book of the future, inhabiting the fissure between languages that in fact joins and nourishes them. Bernier-Cormier opens a world of possibilities to us, where poetry’s act of thinking crosses linguistic borders to give us a newly liveable world.” — Erín Moure, author of The Elements

“Throughout this recueil of reflections, Dominique Bernier-Cormier redefines and brings a certain justice to the internal bilingual battles that torment Acadians and Cajuns alike. Bernier-Cormier’s stunning mix of history, outer space, and pop culture is seductive. His words are refreshing, vivid, and sometimes surreal — making it difficult to put Entre Rive and Shore down before finishing it in its entirety.” — Vivianne Roy, Les Hay Babies

“Bernier-Cormier’s approach is to welcome a hybridity of expression and to accept a hybridity of self, speaking in a hybrid language.” — Miramichi Reader

“Dominique Bernier-Cormier’s book ought to become central to our reflections on poetry, translation, and linguistic plurality.” — periodicities

“What makes this book such a dazzling accomplishment is the combination of its completeness as an overarching project with its smaller-scale lustre on the level of individual images and lines (in a flooded room “Jellyfish floating near the ceiling like chandeliers”). I cannot remember the last time I read a work of Canadian poetry so assured that I was reading a future classic.” — Arc Poetry