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November/December 2003
Vol. 35, no. 6
ISSN 1492-4676

Contents Next Article

Saint-Denys Garneau Manuscript Exhibition

Monique Ostiguy, Research and Information Services

On September 25, Roch Carrier, National Librarian of Canada, opened the exhibition Voici líespace que jíhabite: An Exhibit of Saint-Denys Garneau Manuscripts in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

The exhibition, organized to mark the 60th anniversary of the poetís death, was presented at the Musée québécois de Culture populaire as part of the Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières.

Accompanying Mr. Carrier at the opening were Michèle Paradis, Director of the host museum, Gaston Bellemare, Director of the Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières, and Émile Martel, Vice-President of the Fondation de Saint-Denys-Garneau. At the request of André Ouellet, President and CEO of Canada Post Corporation, François Asselin presented the museum director with a stamp bearing the likeness of Saint-Denys Garneau; the stamp had been produced to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the National Library of Canada. Governor General's Award-winning poets Serge Patrice Thibodeau and Paul Chanel Malenfant shared with the guests their discovery of Saint-Denys Garneauís poetry and its continuing influence on their own work. They each also read selected poems from Regards et jeux dans líespace.

Library and Archives Canada is honoured to hold the archives of Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau, one of Quebecís first modern poets who, in 1937, broke from the established ideas of his time with the publication of his collection Regards et jeux dans líespace. The Hector de Saint-Denys-Garneau fonds contains several of the poetís diaries from 1935 to 1939, manuscripts of poems, essays and short stories, as well as letters.

Microfilm copies of this fonds have been deposited with the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Centre de recherche de Saint-Denys-Garneau at the Université Laval to facilitate the work of specialists and researchers.

For Library and Archives Canada (LAC), this exhibition presented a unique opportunity to introduce to the public in the poetry capital of Trois-Rivières a broad selection of original Saint-Denys Garneau manuscripts. The exhibition was also open to the many visitors from outside Canada who attended the Festival international de poésie. The exhibition, which offers a foray into the poetís writing workshop, will travel to various towns in Quebec, allowing others to view a selection of Saint-Denys Garneauís manuscripts and learn about other aspects of the poetís work.

The first part of the exhibit comprises copies of Saint-Denys Garneauís early poems, written with a more traditional frame of reference. In some cases, there are up to three drafts of the same poem.

The second part is devoted to the collection Regards et jeux dans líespace, which was published in 1937. It includes two manuscript versions of the opening poem, which did not originally start with the famous verse "Je ne suis pas bien du tout assis sur cette chaise."

The overview of Saint-Denys Garneauís poetry includes excerpts from his diaries. Collected under the heading "La vie au grand air et autres plaisirs" are 15 pieces that show Saint-Denys Garneau as an energetic man who enjoyed life.

In addition, the exhibition highlights Canadian musical scores inspired by the poetry of Saint-Denys Garneau. Visitors can listen to tunes from the sound recording collection of LACís Music Division.

Saint-Denys Garneau is less well-known for his visual art, and the exhibition includes some canvasses, greeting cards and sketches done by the poet. The exhibition closes with manuscripts of poems found after Saint-Denys Garneauí tragic death at the age of 31.

The work of Saint-Denys Garneau has influenced several generations of poets, and there is no doubt that this travelling exhibition will attract new readers, some of whom may be inspired to take up writing themselves.

For more information about the Saint-Denys Garneau Manuscript exhibition, contact Monique Ostiguy, Literary Manuscript Archivist and curator of the exhibit.

Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N4