Current Poet Laureate
Michel Pleau, 2014-2016
About Michel Pleau
Credit: Guillaume D. Cyr
Michel Pleau still lives in the neighbourhood of his birth, Saint-Sauveur, in Quebec City’s Lowertown. Pleau has devoted his life to poetry and, since 1992, has published close to a dozen books of poetry and thoughts on the nature of writing. He received the Octave Crémazie Award from the Salon du livre de Québec and the Institut Canadien for his first collection Le corps tombe plus tard, published by Écrits des Forges. He also received the Alphonse Piché Award and the Félix-Antoine Savard Award from the Trois-Rivières International Poetry Festival. Pleau was a finalist for the Émile Nelligan Award for his collection Plus loin que les cendres, published by Éditions du Noroît.
In 2008, Éditions David published Pleau’s book La lenteur du monde, which won the Governor General’s Award for poetry. The English translation, Eternity taking its time, was published by Toronto’s Bookland Press in 2012, and the Spanish translation will be released in 2014 by the Mexican publisher Eternos Malabares. Pleau’s most recent work, Le petit livre de l’été, was a finalist for the Prix des abonnés, awarded by the Bibliothèque de Québec.
Pleau has received grants from the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the Canada Council for the Arts, and was CALQ Writer in Residence in Montréal (2003 and 2008) and the Quebec-Paris Writer in Residence in Paris (April–June 2007).
In addition to his career as a writer and poet, Pleau has taught creative writing for more than 20 years. He is a lecturer in the continuing education department of Laval University, speaks at CEGEPs, and offers poetry workshops for young people through the Quebec government’s cultural education program. Pleau also shares his talents with the general public by teaching introductory and advanced poetry courses through the Fédération du Loisir Littéraire du Québec and the Camp littéraire Félix, respectively. In recent years, he has led writing workshops during the 10-day Trois-Rivières International Poetry Festival.
It is often said that Pleau’s passion and eloquence help others view the world through a poet’s eyes, and he has inspired a new generation of poets by being a resource for them through the Programme de parrainage at the Union des écrivaines et écrivains du Québec and the Programme Première Ovation at the Institut Canadien de Québec.
Many of Pleau’s students have gone on to be published, receive awards and take their own place in the literary world.
In addition to writing and teaching, Pleau also conducts ongoing research into the meaning of poetry. In addition to articles in literary reviews, he has published two essays, Regards sur le poème and L’écriture comme expérience (entretiens avec Jean-Noël Pontbriand). The Service documentaire multimédia described the first essay as “a little book to tuck between Max Jacob’s Advice to a Young Poet and R.M. Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.”
Far from living in an ivory tower, Pleau revels in his community and the people around him, constantly seeking to spark their interest in poetry. As a presenter and educator working with children, adults and seniors, Pleau has developed a unique take on people and their experiences.
In the spring of 2014, Éditions David will publish Pleau’s new collection Le ciel de la basse-ville, in which he again explores childhood and the memories that awaken in the poet a new awareness of himself and his future.