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The Parliamentary
Poet Laureate


Pierre DesRuisseaux


Born in Sherbrooke, in the Eastern Townships, in 1945, Pierre DesRuisseaux graduated from the Université de Montréal in philosophy. He was successively an editorial writer for regional and national weeklies, including Le petit journal, a proofreader and a foreign correspondent (Middle East) for the magazine Sept-Jours. Mr. DesRuisseaux died in 2016.

Mr. DesRuisseaux has published 14 collections of his poetry. His first book of poems, Lettres, published by Hexagone in 1979, was greeted as a revelation in Quebec’s literary world. In 1989, Monème earned Canada’s highest literary honour, the Governor General’s Award.

Another of his books, Le noyau, was described by Louise Proulx in Livres et auteurs québécois as an extraordinary mingling of philosophy, semantics, literature, politics and poetry. His work has frequently been read on Radio-Canada and published in a number of Quebec and foreign literary reviews. He has written on popular culture in Quebec, including the Livre des proverbes québécois and the Dictionnaire des expressions québécoises; the latter was chosen by the Association pour l’éducation interculturelle du Québec (AÉIQ) as one of 21 works that are representative of Quebec’s collective identity. Pierre DesRuisseaux is also the editor of the Dictionnaire des proverbes québécois, which Simon Fraser University’s Centre de ressources francophone called an invaluable tool for all teachers who want to teach their pupils more than language skills. Among his other books are works on sayings and popular beliefs and practices, as well as an anthology of traditional North American Aboriginal poetry (Hymnes à la Grande Terre).

A certified translator (English, Spanish) with the Canada Council for the Arts since 1983 and with the federal Translation Bureau since 1984, he has translated the Popol Vuh, the Maya-Quiché holy scriptures, from Spanish to French in collaboration with Daisy Amaya (published by VLB, Le Castor Astral, Montreal and Paris), and Gabriel Dumont, in collaboration with François Lanctôt, for which he won the Canada Council’s Translation Award in 1986.

In 1995, Triptyque released his bilingual anthology of 25 English-Canadian poets, Contre taille, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award the following year. In 1997, Mr. DesRuisseaux published a translation of a collection of poems by Louis Dudek, leader of the Montreal school of English-language poetry, called Dudek, l’essentiel, with an introduction by Michael Gnarowski. In March 2000, Triptyque released his critical anthology of some 31 Anglo-Quebec poets, entitled Co incidences : poètes anglophones du Québec, with a preface by Ken Norris. He is continuing to research popular culture, popular poetry and ethnolinguistic studies. Cited in a number of national and foreign anthologies, Pierre DesRuisseaux publishes both fiction and verse through a number of publishers, in Quebec and abroad. He has taken part in literary festivals and events (Festival franco-anglais de poésie, lecture, Centre d’action poétique, France) and collaborates regularly on Canadian and foreign literary reviews, including Ruptures (translations from the Spanish and fiction), Sud (France), The Revue, Osiris (U.S.), Estuaire, Liberté and The Review (U.K.).


  • 3 November 2009
    Capital News Online – phone interview with Harmeet Singh

  • 19 August 2009
    CBC Radio (Sudbury) – phone interview on Morning North

  • 3 July 2009
    Maclean's magazine – phone interview with Mitchel Raphael

  • 22 June 2009
    Beyond the Hill – phone interview with Sarah Dion-Marquis

  • 15 May 2009
    98.5 FM Le Québec d’abord – live interview with Isabelle Maréchal

  • 1 May 2009
    CBC Toronto – phone interview with Richard Goddart

  • 30 April 2009
    CKSB-AM Radio-Réveil – radio interview

  • 30 April 2009
    RCI-R Tam-Tam Canada – television interview

  • 30 April 2009
    CKSH-TV Téléjournal Midi Estrie – television interview

  • 30 April 2009
    LCN-TV Franchement Martineau – television interview

  • 29 April 2009
    Radio-Canada – Le monde selon Mathieu – live interview with Daniel Mathieu

  • 28 April 2009
    News Release, Appointment of new Parliamentary Poet Laureate

  • Events

  • 26 March 2011, Théâtre du Marais, Val Morin, Que.
    Attended poetry event, Nuit de la poésie des Laurentides

  • 25 January 2011, Ottawa, Ont.
    Tree Reading Series poetry reading

  • 9 to 12 December 2010, Toronto, Ont.
    Attended the Salon du livre

  • 14 to 15 July 2010, Halifax, N.S.
    Attended a poetry event

  • 29 May 2010, Montreal, Que.
    Attended Nuit de la poésie, an event organized by the Maison de la poésie

  • 3 May 2010, Ottawa, Ont. Attended a ceremony marking the one hundredth anniversary of the Canadian Navy, with a reading of his poem, organized by the Speaker of the Senate

  • 25 to 26 November 2009, Ottawa, Ont.
    Attended events for the winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards 2009

  • 8 November 2009, Toronto, Ont.
    Toronto Poetry Parade – poetry event and contest in Toronto (see photos)

  • 24 September to 3 October 2009
    Voyage aboard the HMCS Montreal to write a poem in honour of the one hundredth anniversary of the Canadian Navy (see photos)

  • 15 to 21 July 2009, Managua, Nicaragua
    United Poets Laureate International – 21st World Congress of Poets in Managua, Nicaragua (see photos)

  • Photos

    • World Congress of Poets, 2009: With UPLI President Dr. Benjamin Yuzon

    • World Congress of Poets, 2009: With Architect Luis Enrique Morales Alonso, Nicaraguan Minister of Culture