Jean Narrache

Jean Narrache, pseudonym of Émile Coderre; poet (b at Montréal 1893; d 1970). He made his appearance in writing very early on by founding Le Mercredi, a humorous newspaper at the Séminaire de Nicolet where he was studying.

Narrache, Jean

Jean Narrache, pseudonym of Émile Coderre; poet (b at Montréal 1893; d 1970). He made his appearance in writing very early on by founding Le Mercredi, a humorous newspaper at the Séminaire de Nicolet where he was studying. After graduating as a pharmacist from the university in the same city (1919), he became the publicist for a paint company and, later on, secretary of the Collège des pharmaciens du Québec (1945-1961), where he collaborated on various periodicals: La Revue moderne, La Grande Revue, La Patrie du Dimanche - for which he wrote a column titled "J'parl' pour parler."

He was a member of the École littéraire de Montréal, and published a first collection in alexandrine form, Les signes sur le sable (1922), inspired by love and nature. Then he turned toward popular poetry, positioned halfway between the song and recitative story: Quand j'parl'tout seul (1932), J'parl' pour parler... Poésies (1939); Bonjour, les gars! Vers ramanchés et pièces nouvelles (1948); J'parl'tout seul quand Jean Narrache (1961); Jean Narrache chez le diable (1963); Rêveries de Jean Narrache (nd, np). In 1932 he received the silver medal from la Société des poètes canadiens-français.

Marginal, deeply pessimistic and convinced that a grievous fate pursued him, Jean Narrache in all likelihood found release from his inner turmoil through composing texts about the humble people around him, works that evoked their misfortunes and imitated their dialect. His vividness, mixed with compassion and vehemence, often brought about his comparison to the populist French poets Jehan Rictus (1867-1933) and Ponchon (1848-1937).