The reasons of the heart have always found a way in the work of Stéphanie Filion if we think of the collection co-written with Valérie Forgues, Jeanne Forever (2018), and We the Living (2015), all published in Lizard Lovers.
Her narrative poetry here tells the story of Diane Hébert, the first Quebecer to receive a double heart-lung transplant in 1985 after the discovery of a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.
The poet weaves into this story elements of her own life and her memories marked by anxiety in a style that is not unrelated to the collection of Mathieu Simoneau, which has also just been published.
“I wish I was a fern / a cloud a pebble washed by the river / it’s exhausting work / to have a beating heart”
In this cardiogram of two lives where one admires the courage of the other since it would be easier than “to plunge into what haunts [her]”, the poet slips imperceptibly into the skin of Diane Hébert. Thus, the “you” and the “I” become inseparable, forming an unnamed, yet loquacious “we.”
The collection retraces the entire journey of the transplant patient, with her strengths and weaknesses. This is the story of 1980s Quebec dancing to Like a Virgin, eating chicken cacciatore and hoping with Diane Hébert…
Stéphanie Filion, who “lets the world enter” into her “naked heart”, gives the impression of having found in the one who died at 51 in 2008 a sister and probably more. Diane Hébert, who encouraged the idea of organ donation, had the same first name as the poet’s mother.