Drawing from philosophy (including Pre-Socratic materialists, Nietzsche, and Spinoza), A Spectacular Influence by Chantal Neveu offers readers an exercise in extreme perception. With clear lines and minimalist language, A Spectacular Influence solicits movement in melancholy as a way of celebrating the intimate role that each of us plays in the human collective experience.
This is Neveu’s “materialist poetry manifesto” in all its paradoxical joy through tragedy. It holds a linguistic magnifying glass up to core subjects at the foundation of our very humanness, dwelling in the Spinozan questions, Is consciousness an illusion? How do metamorphoses arise within the collective?
In this graceful, rich translation by acclaimed author and translator Nathanaël, Neveu’s poetic perspective invites us to consider that, in our inevitable connection with the world, “I am a human, and nothing human is foreign to me” (after Terence).
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Praise for A Spectacular Influence:
“In this book, magnificent with density, the most external events are retranslated into intimate events. The writing produces effects of counterpoint that seem to layer several melodic lines tied one to the other. And it is there, in that musical space, that the body is exposed: something arises that changes it, jars it, modulates it, brings about a state or a motion that is the sign of life beating.” —Alexis Lussier, Spirale Magazine
“[A Spectacular Influence] traverses the question of the representation and the place of the body in the midst of the fluctuating settings that surround us.” —Nicolas Tardy, Cahier Critique de Poésie
“This is poetry, radically.” —Hugues Corriveau, Le Devoir
Chantal Neveu’s A Spectacular Influence, translated by Nathanaël, is a dark, dense exploration of violence and intimacy — of our traumatic connections to the world and one another.” —Winnipeg Free Press
Interviews and Profiles:
The Entitled Interview with Chantal Neveu —Open Book Toronto
There Is No Capital I: In Conversation with Nathanaël —Lemon Hound 3.0
Chantal Neveu is a writer and an interdisciplinary artist. She is the author of the books Une Spectaculaire influence (2010), Coït (2010; translated into English by Angela Carr and published by BookThug in 2012), and mentale (2008). Her interdisciplinary textual projects include Èdres followed by Èdres | Dehors (2005) and Je suis venue faire l’amour, among others. A Spectacular Influence, translated by Nathanaël, is Neveu’s second book to be published by BookThug. She lives in Montreal.
The (self-)translating author of more than twenty books, Nathanaël writes in English and in French. Her recent works include Sotto l’immagine (2014), Sisyphus, Outdone. Theatres of the Catastrophal (2012) and Asclepias: The Milkweeds (2015). Nathanaël’s extrinsic translations include works by Danielle Collobert, Édouard Glissant, Hervé Guibert, Catherine Mavrikakis, and Hilda Hilst (the latter in collaboration with Rachel Gontijo Araújo). Nathanaël lives in Chicago.