Lalonde, Michèle

Michèle Lalonde, poet, playwright and essayist (b at Montréal 28 Jul 1937). Michèle Lalonde, who has a degree in philosophy from the Université de Montréal, is especially known for her committed poetry and political positions on Québec and the language issue. Her work includes two plays, Ankrania ou Celui qui crie (1957) and Dernier recours de Baptiste à Catherine (1977), as well as several collections of poetry: Songe de la fiancée détruite (1958), Geôles (1959), Terre des hommes (1967), Portée disparue (1979), and Métaphore pour un nouveau monde (1980). However, it is the poem Speak White (published 1974), recited in 1970 as part of a song and poetry presentation to benefit Québecois political prisoners at La Nuit de Poésie in Montreal, that is her most well known piece. Written in an incantatory style, the poem decries the inferior cultural, social and economic conditions of French Canadians, while calling for the solidarity of oppressed peoples against all forms of colonialism and imperialism. As an essayist, Michèle Lalonde published Défense et illustration de la langue québécoise in 1979, and with Denis Monière Cause commune. Manifeste pour une internationale des petites cultures in 1981. In 1979, she received the prix Duvernay from the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste for her work overall. In 1984, she became president of the Fédération internationale des écrivains de langue française (International Federation of French-language writers).