Mestizo Skies (II)
transl. Madeleine Stratford

In the Sierra Madre
the Primera Plus
supersonic bus
hurtles along the cliffs
ripping the air apart

Blue-green agaves
look dizzy and dull
in the valley below

Tequila Sunrise
a taste of glow worm
in my mezcal heart

Madeleine Stratford is a poet, a literary translator, and an associate professor at the Université du Québec en Outaouais. Her French translation of Ce qu’il faut dire a des fissures by Uruguayan poet Tatiana Oroño (Paris, L’Oreille du Loup, 2012) was awarded the 2013 John Glassco Prize by the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada. In 2017, Me Tall You Small, her English translation of Lilli L’Arronge’s Ich groβ, du klein (OwlKids Books, 2017), was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize. Her translations have also been shortlisted three times for a Governor General award (2016, 2019, and 2021).


Ciels métissés (extrait)
Louise Desjardins

Dans la Sierra Madre
l’autobus Primera Plus
frôle les ravins
et fracasse l’air

Vertige et langueur
des agaves turquoise
au fond d’une vallée

Tequila Sunrise
un goût de ver luisant
dans mon cœur de mezcal

Louise Desjardins was born in the Abitibi region. Her writing career began in poetry, but soon came to include works of fiction and non-fiction, as well as literary translations. To date, Desjardins has signed a dozen poetry books, including La 2e Avenue (Noroît, 1991 and Hexagone, 1995), which was a Governor General Award finalist in 1995. Her first novel, La Love, (Leméac, 1993 and BQ, 2000) was awarded the Grand Prix du Journal de Montréal and the Prix des Arcades de Bologne. She has published several other novels since then, including So long (2005), Rapide-Danseur (2012), and, more recently, L’idole (2017), as well as a book of short stories, Cœurs braisés (2001), and a biography of Quebecois singer Pauline Julien, La vie à mort (1999). The translations presented here are from her last poetry book, Ciels métissés (2014).

Read Madeleine Stratford’s introduction to these translations.

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