from Môn_Tréal

by Oana Avasilichioaei and Zoë Skoulding

Oana Avasilichioaei (Tiohtià:ke/Montréal) interweaves poetry, sound, photography, and translation to explore an expanded idea of language, polyphonic structures, and borders of listening. Her six collections of poetry and poetry hybrids include Eight Track (Talonbooks, 2019, finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry) and Limbinal (Talonbooks, 2015). She has created many performance/sound works, written a libretto for a one-act opera, and translated several books from French and Romanian.

Zoë Skoulding (Ynys Môn/Anglesey) is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Bangor University. Recent publications include Footnotes to Water (Seren, 2019), which won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award 2020, and A Revolutionary Calendar (Shearsman, 2020). She received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2018. Her current project is Transatlantic Translation: Poetry in Circulation and Practice Across Languages, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

a fondness
a fond deception

au fond la déception

a needle writes coastlines into seams
wind writes the evidence of air
clouds write weights and pauses
rain writes downwards and sideways
ice writes the broken routes of ships
waves write paths of least resistance
fish write water under pseudonyms
crabs write left to right right to left
sand writes the contours of forgetting

niveau des eaux
eau de pluie
eau douce
eau salée
o eaux
qui montent

island is ynys
ynys is isle
isle is I
I is eye
eye is land
land is easy
easy is île
île is eel
eel is any
any is ice
ice is iâ
iâ is ynys
ynys is l’est
l’est is est
est is is
is ynys is
island

they say the island’s all that’s holding their heads above water.

they say they watch the level of the water, bars on the ladder, rung rhwng rung.

they say that when the voice matches up to the moving lips, there’s a false image of
completeness – you’re in sync, but you’re sinking.

they say there’s no precise relation between sound and image, as there’s precisely
image, then sound.

they say the island’s never in the same place twice, but the sound shifts and goes
deeper.

they say that yesterday the water was up to here, but now it’s drained from the ear’s
hollows into silence.

they say that the island has no possible outline.

sur leurs langues
leurs langues vivantes
leur langue de terre
leur langue glaciaire
leur langue de chair
leurs langues mixtes
leur langage des halles
leur langueur

spreading on the isle île ynys
reading its resistances
weathering its voices voix llais
perpetually of (else)where
yet (inter)twining tendrils with
precarious yet undaunted

and if they closed their eyes on this river island miles from the sea, they could still
feel its salty scent carried by the morning breeze

and if they were fated to return again and again, they knew their restlessness was
catching, un cauchemar, a sea outstretched, une force vivante, incontrôlable

and the coast became horizon only in a daydream, an idea they drank in ravenous
gulps or tiny sips

and if the cauchemar turned amer, they choked on whatever entered their mouths
(words, flesh, elixirs, water, air, quinces…) but kept their mouths open all the same

and if the expanse began to fold in upon itself, voices seeped out in droves, in
tremors, in feverish wailings

and at this juncture they knew that they must forge new tracks out of whatever
materials they had on hand

be scaffold and foundation
exposition and annotation
footnote and footbridge
an ear and more

mae môr mae môr mae môr mae môr mae môr mae môr
more mer more mer more mer more mer more mer more mer



Oana Avasilichioaei (Tiohtià:ke/Montréal) interweaves poetry, sound, photography, and translation to explore an expanded idea of language, polyphonic structures, and borders of listening. Her six collections of poetry and poetry hybrids include Eight Track (Talonbooks, 2019, finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry) and Limbinal (Talonbooks, 2015). She has created many performance/sound works, written a libretto for a one-act opera, and translated several books from French and Romanian.

Zoë Skoulding (Ynys Môn/Anglesey) is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Bangor University. Recent publications include Footnotes to Water (Seren, 2019), which won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award 2020, and A Revolutionary Calendar (Shearsman, 2020). She received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2018. Her current project is Transatlantic Translation: Poetry in Circulation and Practice Across Languages, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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