I write these words / J’écris ces mots is a fascinating and elegant volume of poetry that examines the world of a woman born in Tunisia but living in Toronto, and women’s universal struggle to find their place in the world. Poems explore the roles woman play in diverse societies and cultures and draw the reader in with gentle, probing verses that beguile with their beauty, but challenge with their meaning. Sometimes the reader travels in the present, sometimes in the past, into the world of a woman and poet who is pulled in many directions. The volume features a selection of French poetry, translated into English, from the poet’s earlier collections in French, as well as new poetry written in English (and translated, by the poet, into French). Included are a préface by Andrée Lacelle, a foreword / avant-propos by Mireille Desjarlais-Heynneman, and a postface by Didier Leclair.
“Lélia Young’s poetry is a meditation, a prayer of sorts, not about the sacred world, but about the need to cogitate about the real, everyday world. These poems are insinuated by a woman sitting at a desk, writing by candlelight, while the rest of the family is asleep, pondering her place in a society she finds puzzling, cruel, violent. The poet desires, but never imposes her will. Lélia Young whispers more than screams her tears, fears, wishes during these moments of intimacy. Hers is the fragility of the poem.”