Ontario Author Profile: Christian Milat

NOW Digital Residency: Ontario's Best Books

As part of this month’s Ontario’s Best Books Digital Residency, we’re profiling some of this province’s prominent authors. See all of the profiles here.

What’s your most recent work about?

My most recent book is a collection of poetry entitled Si je connaissais… To me, poetic language is capable of opening up your voice and opening up a path to knowledge that transcends everyday appearances. My book addresses the topics of self-awareness, soulmates, the other and the human condition. Physicists assert that each of our electrons encompasses the entire universe, just as each point in a hologram contains the entire image. Each of my poems aims to increase our understanding of ourselves by connecting us to the objects in the world which exist inside us and make us up, objects in the world that belong to the four elements: water, air, fire and earth. For example, the moon, bees, lightning and marble.

Do you have anything specific you do for your writing process?

I believe that the impact of poetry depends on the specificity of its language. So the act of writing a poem means working on words. The choice of words, how they are interconnected with one another, their sound, their rhythm – all of this endows them with additional meaning. This work is done at an unconscious level. When I create a poem, I adopt these words penned by Arthur Rimbaud: “I is an other. If brass wakes as a bugle, it is not its fault at all. That is quite clear to me: I am a spectator at the flowering of my thought: I watch it, I listen to it.” Readers in turn must trust their unconscious to allow the words to release their message.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you when you were first starting out as a writer?

The best training for writing is reading quality writers. Their work did not influence me per se, but it did nourish me. Somewhat akin to how fertilizer nourishes the soil. The fertilizer doesn’t determine what will grow, but rather stimulates that growth. All literary genres are worth reading. With regard to poetry, I am particularly indebted to Paul Éluard, Saint-John Perse, Jules Supervielle, René Char, Henri Michaux and, closer to our times, Yves Bonnefoy.

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