Your Words, a three-volume collection from Canadian poet and photographer Louise Belanger, offers a shutter-click moment of restorative calm and reflection, a glimpse into a personal relationship with spirituality, as well as a (gentle) interrogation of self and wider world.
From its effusive dedication and opening poem , Belanger’s first collection, Your Words, sets out its stall early as one of the many lockdown projects to flourish during the pandemic, “I will again…” a declarative, defiant piece addressed to ‘Covid-19, you evil thing’.
Later poems, like “The Boy With The Red Kite” are more observational, Belanger’s direct, unadorned stanzas interspersed with photographs of nature in glowing colour.
The opening poem of Your Words Your World, Belanger’s second volume of poetry and accompanying images finds her in a more expansive frame of mind. The voice adopted in It is time a bracing one, exhorting her subject and readers to cast off their Lockdown Languish, here imagined as an unloved fairground ride brought back with a little effort and polish, and “lift the sheets/Sweep the dust, sand the rust.”
Life as Le Carrousel, while not a new concept, underscores an essential long-view as we lurch from one global event to another: there are no crises, only cycles.
Your Words Your Heart takes its cue from the complex flower forms photographed by Belanger in her native Montreal: the verses inward-looking, rather frailer in tone than those of her debut collection, though finding comfort and strength in a higher power remains a consistent theme here.