Monday, July 22, 2013

Bernard Anton - English translation

An English translation of my interview with Bernard Anton - poet, teacher, writer

[French interview here]

CBT: We often hear that literature is in a state of crisis. First, do you agree? If sos, what are the factors that have created this crisis? Is the ongoing recession? September 11th? Or is there other factors farther earlier than the new millennium has also made the crisis?

BA: Yes and no. Culture (the field) is in crisis because the artistic side seems less interested in people who are likely to make things which are easier to use and understand. However, culture takes other forms, such as photography, video clip ... pop art on the web is extremely lively and popular. Maybe we should popularize and democratize culture as a whole ...

CBT: And the literature is what, exactly? And is the traditional novel the best representative of this?

BA: Literature is vast. The traditional novel is only a part of it. New genres have emerged and prevail today, like slam, spoken words ...

CBT: Do you think the Internet will become the primary means of distributing books?

BA: Yes, to make the book visible and accessible. The Internet today is the # 1 means of global communication. It is a must, and so easy to access. It transcends borders. In 2-3 seconds, we have the answers to almost anything we want to research ... This is much more effective than going to the library and searching for hours.

CBT: Do you think that e-books will replace paper books?

BA: Yes and no. The paper book is a format that will always remain, at least for me. We need contact with the material. It cannot be limited to virtual means.

CBT: Do you think there is a wall between the anglophone and francophone literature? If so, what should be done?

AB: This is not a wall, it's a difference. These are two different cultures that operate in two cultural contexts that are not at all alike. They resemble two different countries. There's is nothing one can do. It is normal.

CBT: Do you think prizes for literature are dangerous because they suggest that "this book should be read and all the others we should not?"

BA: The awards recognize one work or author. However, they tend to minimize the beautiful work of other authors and other works ... In a contest, there is one prize. and it is chosen from work among the five finalists. But the four other works that have not won the award are just as good. A prize is subjective, relative. It is sometimes the result of politicized choices, and it depends on the jury. Another jury may give the same prize to another book and not even recognize the title that won the prize ....

CBT: Do you have a writer's website writer? If yes, do you think it is an effective way to promote your books?

BA: Yes, I have an author's site. it is very important to be visible and accessible to my readers. This is out of respect for them. This is one of my communication tools. I also have to do my part to promote my books, and not only leave that to my press agent and my publisher ...

CBT: "Slams" (eg, "polygamous slams") -- what is this exactly?

BA It is a collection of poems that are rhythmic and rhyming, and dealing with everyday life. The choice of "polygamous" is deliberate. It is meant in the broad sense, and intended to have a versatile meaning. I'm not talking about polygamy in the narrow, sexual sense, but figuratively. For me, slams flirt with all languages, all cultures, all continents, all ages, all genders, all countries.

CBT: According to your biography in Wikipedia, "In 2005 [Anton] had a serious car accident, which slowed his activities." Please give us more details about how the accident has changed your life.

BA: Since my accident, I am no longer the same. I run slow, I take my time. I take care of my body more. I am more careful. My limits force me to choose my activities and be more patient. This is physics.

CBT: One theme in "Advocacy for the Earth and live" [Living Earth] is the environment. You express a passion for ecology. Is it possible for literature to help the environment?

BA: All can contribute to helping the environment: art, politics, economics, industry and literature ... There are many movies that are trying to raise awareness ... many artists, several writers. The duty of literature is to reflect and interact with the time and problems of his time. That is, it seems to me, inseparable. We are all products of our time. Literature is no exception.

CBT: These days, what projects are you working on?

BA: I am preparing a third collection of slams and trying to rework my thesis dealing with forgiveness. I would like to make a more accessible version which can connect to the general public and not just a few specialists.

Bio: Bernard Anton Ph.D. (Born 1961) lives in the Laurentians (Quebec). He began early studying drama, literature, education and the science of religion and helping relationships. He has published more than 46 books (poetry slam, storytelling, drama, essay, spirituality, environment) with different Quebec and European publishers. He has been a professor for over twenty-four years. He has participated in several exhibitions, conferences, journals, conferences and events. Jean Royer described his poems as having an "unusual mastery of language." Gaston Miron observed that his work has "a truthfulness of emotion and the miracle of the presence that do not lie." Jean Ethier-Blais recognizes him as the "poet of the major themes at the top and delicate verb." Reginald Hamel says: "His poetry can marry the heavenly and the earthly and give the mysteries of life universal tone." They call him the poet of luminous beauty, the magician of words, the awakener of consciences. He reveals in his lectures, performances and writings, a remarkable universal humanist thinker. Preserving the environment and the well-being of people is one of his favorite themes. His work is often a finalist for literary prizes. His work of environmental advocacy For the Earth and the Living won an award for a Commendation of Excellence  EFA (Montreal Book Fair, 2009) and all of his poetry the has been awarded a Diploma of Honour for the Francophonie (Europoésie, Paris 2009). He has twice won the third prize in various competitions.

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