French Teacher Publishes Book of Poetry

Northwest School Humanities and French teacher Françoise Canter recently published a book of poems titled Liminal Voices, in both French and English, and translated by herself, an uncommon occurrence in the literary world.

"When you translate, you have to become the writer," explains Françoise. "In writing this, I became another part of myself, and it pushed me to reflect that I might be a different person in a different language. I looked at what identity is and how it is constructed, knowing that language is a huge portion of our identity."

Liminal originally was a religious term for moving from one denomination to another. It now currently means to exist inbetween. The term reflects how the book was written, as well as the themes of the poems, which span from both Françoise's lives in France and America.

Françoise worked on the collection for over two years, beginning the process when she took her sabbatical from The Northwest School in the spring of 2015. It was a return for Françoise to creative writing, something she hadn't done since immigrating to the United States in 1989. The collection combined her loves of translation and poetry into an interesting work.

"This writing process was so interesting. Often times, the first line would dictate what language I was going to write in," says Françoise. "Sometimes a line would resonate to me better in translation. I would go back and try to figure out what I liked, or why the words clashed in a more interesting way. It was a fascinating experience, and I loved how it triggered my creative mind."

Although the book is not available for purchase in the United States - it was published by Revue Á L'index, a collective of poets who do not work with major distributors around the world - Françoise provided a copy for The Northwest School library.