Quebec Studies

Identity and the Ethnic Self in Contemporary Franco-American Poetry

Quebec Studies (2014), 57, (1), 147–170.

Abstract

Throughout what is termed the Golden Age of Franco-America – at its apex throughout the 1930s and ending definitively with the close of the World War II – Franco-American poets, novelists, and journalists repeatedly played the survivance card in order to protect or even to promote a static and isolationist stance informed by nationalist rhetoric. Publishing mostly after 1970, the contemporary poets included in this study (the late Normand Dubé, Paul Marion, Susann Pelletier, the late A. Poulin, Jr., Steven Riel, David Rivard, and Bill Tremblay) write from what Denis Ledoux terms “a Franco perspective,” moving away from an essentializing concept of ethnic identity toward an evolving, dynamic, and inclusive vision. This perspective, sometimes at the forefront but often in the shadows of the poems, succeeds in redefining the nature and meaning of ethnic identity and unleashes a battle cry against the marginalization, injustices, and working conditions of those outside mainstream America.

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Lees, Cynthia