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'paysage' is no less than a 'pays,' and one connected with the world at
that; it is 'Le Québec' more than just the city of Quebec, and more than
just the Province of Quebec. Chamberland is generally credited with
titling a work with the name that will come to designate the nation in
Terre-Québec in 1964, but certainly the Ode au Saint-Laurent is a clear
predecessor. The power of the word, of naming, of identifying, of rein-
vigorating and solidifying a society is celebrated in the final short canto:
'La parole de l'homme est ma seule présence / Je réduis la distance en-
tre chaque être' (89; The language of man is my sole presence / I reduce
the distance between each being). The poem ends, as it began, with the
linking of poet, language, and country through the river, but now, in-
stead of being saddled with uncertainty, all are endowed with a vision
of the future:
Je prends pied sur une terre que j'aime
L'Amérique est ma langue ma patrie…
Tout est plus loin chaque matin plus haut
Le flot du fleuve dessine une mer
J'avance face à l'horizon
Je reconnais ma maison à l'odeur des fleurs
Il fait clair et beau sur la terre
Ne fera-t-il jamais jour dans le cœur des hommes?
[I take a foothold on the land I love /America is my language my coun-
try / Everything is farther each morning higher / The river's ebb and flow
conjures up a sea / I go forward facing the horizon / I recognize my home
from the smell of flowers / It's bright and beautiful on earth / Will day-
light never pierce the hearts of men?]
Once again the land ('ma patrie') and landscape ('dessine') are seen as
a combination of nature ('fleuve') and culture ('langue'), space ('hori-
zon') and place ('ma maison'), 31 but with an air of personal confidence
('j'avance') and concern for the collectivity ('le cœur des hommes') that
characterizes the Quiet Revolution of the sixties and emerges also in the
work of Jean-Paul Riopelle.
Although he began with the group of automatists in the forties and
changed his approach frequently, Riopelle undertook a return to more
figurative painting in the sixties, but in a way that Brunet-Weinmann
has termed 'refiguration' (54), a remaking of reality in terms of the
painter's feelings. When asked whether his painting, whatever the per-
iod, could be termed 'abstract,' Riopelle replied: 'My approach is the
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