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Jason Camlot Turns 40 Today

Jason Camlot (pictured above) turns 40 today.

Eyewear wishes him a very happy birthday.

If music and thought are the twin poles of poetry (with wit somewhere sliding between) then he's your man. Both a musician and a literary scholar, Camlot is equally at home in the bistros near Duluth, singing his own songs, or scouring mansucripts in the British Libary for arcane Victoriana.

Jason and I edited Language Acts: Anglo-Québec Poetry, 1976 to the 21st Century, to be launched at the 9th Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival / 9ième Festival littéraire internationale de Metropolis bleu, Friday, April 27, 20h00 – 21:30, Salle St-Charles, Hôtel Delta Centre-ville, 777 rue University, (Métro Square-Victoria).

Below is a poem that well evidences his virtuosity - a lyric he wrote in California, translated into French.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

J’ai vu Charlotte Gainsbourg
En Californie
Adossé à une voiture,
Elle avait l’air gentille.
Charlotte Gainsbourg
En Californie,
J’ai admiré ses yeux
Et son visage,
De loin.
Je l’aurais bien saluée
Mais j'étais trop gêné.
Dire que je pourrais mourir ce soir.

Charlotte Gainsbourg
Tout près de San Francisco,
Je me demande où elle ira
Après le ‘show’.
Je ne connais pas cette ville,
Mais elle est charmante
Vu de loin,
Vu du ciel.

Mais son père savait écrire une chanson.
Son père chantait mal, mais il était plus fort
Que je ne le serai jamais,
Aussi longtemps que je serais dans ce pays.

Je ne suis pas d’ici, elle non plus.
Je veux dire, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Avec son air solitare.
en Californie--S'il vous plaît, emmenez-moi d'ici--
Je pourrais mourir ce soir.
Et je ne peux plus me passer des cigarettes.
Je ne peux plus me passer des jeunes mignettes.

On exige que je lise
Cet auteur du dix-neuvième siecle.

On exige que je lise
Un livre de Nathaniel Hawthorne
Un roman
Qu’il a ecrit en exile.

Voila Charlotte Gainsbourg
En Californie,
Adossé a une voiture.

poem by Jason Camlot
translated by the author with help from Patrick Leroux and Stephane Paquette
taken from his recent collection Attention All Typewriters!

photo credit: David McGimpsey, 2005
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