Introducing Avant Desire: A Nicole Brossard Reader

It’s my pleasure to announce the publication of this lovingly compiled and edited Nicole Brossard Reader from Coach House Books. I worked closely with Genevieve and Erin, but Alana Wilcox is the true Brossard champion and deserves so much applause and praise for the work she has done to bring vital feminist experimental voices–such as Gail Scott, Lisa Robertson and Nicole Brossard–to the English speaking world.

I learned so much in the process of writing this book:-about myself, my thinking, my generation, its lineages and assumptions, influences, blind spots, my own collaborative blind spots and whole veins of untapped possibility in every direction.

All collaborations are lessons. This for me was about trusting the process, that despite Erin being in Halifax, and Genevieve, who had a child before we were half-way through, who defended her thesis, then moved to New Brunswick before the final edits–we would find a way to have the collaborative, material experience I thought was so essential to this book’s evolution. I had huge dreams for this reader: I really wanted it to be three dimensional, trying to illuminate the way in which Brossard’s work gets taken up–on stage, in homage, in translation, in transElation, and so on.

Myself, Genevieve Robichaud, Erin Wunker, Nicole Brossard, September 2019

So, I learned to that sometimes things are what they are, and this book took its shape in a way, organically, out of the tumult of pressing beyond what was possible it found its beauty and I learned to accept things as they are. And what a book! I’m so pleased. I wanted to capture a sense of the mind in flight, the whole arc, and all of the minds that are in the mix of it. I hope you find it so.

And what a challenge to do! This book, which after all, is about bodies, and resistance to all things that seek to harness, constrain, mechanize, assume any shape or meaning. This book, which challenged me linguistically–for I still struggle and resist the French language that is actually my birthright and we had to face the original not only translations! This book, which gathers together the texts that shaped we three editors–and in the process expanded all of our understanding of Brossard’s work and the Possibility of Brossard!! This book, which contains not one writer’s work but a whole, loving, committed, community of writers who step into the stream of energy that is present in these texts, and redirect, and respond, and amplify, and delight and create a desire for more joy, and more, and more radical kinds of pleasure…that too is a lesson: we must enjoy the space we have fought hard for.

“Yesterday the world needed to be remade again,” Brossard writes in 1975. Every day we wake up to a world in need of making. Which is the best way to love. And the best revenge for tyrants. Not losing our joy.

I will add to this post in the coming days! But for now, please, order the book. And stay tuned for the launch. Sina Queyras, Montreal, September 2, 2020