Bilingual poetry journal co-founded by D.G. Jones poised for rebirth
by Jack Hanson
Whatever actually causes things to happen when we say that the stars are aligned seems to be acting up.
Two weeks after the New Yorker published Pasha Malla’s optimistic account of French-Canadian literature in translation, Too Different and Too Familiar, and two days after our own Carmine Starnino struck back with his less cheery take on the subject, it appears that tides are turning.
Ellipse, a long-running, bilingual (and, later, multilingual) Canadian journal of French and English literature in translation, is to be reborn.
In point of fact, the rebirth has been in the works for nearly two years. Danièle Marcoux, an administrator at Concordia University, is spearheading the revival of the celebrated literary journal, which was founded by D.G. Jones, Shelia Fischman, and Joseph Bonenfant* in 1969, and ran until 2012. Reached by email, Marcoux cites the magazine’s unique qualities as the central animus in restarting it:
The longevity of the review, its pioneer role in translation studies in Canada and the crazy risk it meant, almost 50 years ago, to promote poetry in translation deeply motivated us in our decision to retake the review.
Along with reinstating the review’s practices in translation, Marcoux plans to include a section dedicated to “critics that will enhance and outline the key role of translation as an agent of creativity and transformation of our literature,” with a special focus on first-time translators. The next stop in the revival will be a special issue reflecting on this year’s annual conference of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies (CATS), during which a round table discussion was convened to discuss Ellipse’s legacy and future.
Whether the reemergence of this journal will trigger the full-scale, cross-cultural interchange that Canadian literature is currently lacking is impossible to say. What Ellipses will allow for, however, is a place between the “two solitudes;” a storied venue where writers on either side of The Main can converse.
JACK HANSON is a contributing editor for Partisan.
*Correction: This post originally indicated that only D.G. Jones founded Ellipse.