Gaston Bellemare - Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec
In his region of Trois-Rivières, long ago crowned the international queen of paper, Gaston Bellemare chose poetry and words to bring the material to life, making the spark of beautiful verse felt far beyond his own city. At the Écrits des Forges, which he cofounded a little more than 50 years ago, at the Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières, which he created, at L’Orange bleue or one of the many organizations with which he is still involved, Gaston Bellemare strives to put our lives to poetry, making the richness of the French language felt in the process.
Alongside the Pont Laviolette, over the years Trois-Rivières has seen erected a multitude of smaller bridges connecting poetry to each continent. For Gaston Bellemare, poetry is not an art form that recognizes borders. The man of letters and rhyme has co-published voices from home and abroad, offering them incredible showcases and sending off Québec poetry beyond the St. Lawrence. With equal devotion to his community, he has flooded the city with an unimaginable amount of writing in all forms, in a box or on a clothesline, letting poetic voices resonate in the hopes that they transform our lives.
In declaring Trois-Rivières poetry capital, Félix Leclerc undoubtedly anticipated how the Festival international de la poésie would resonate, but he must also have divined Gaston Bellemare’s incredible determination and undying love of poetry. One verse at a time, poetry has found its capital, and it has only one Gaston Bellemare.
About the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec
The Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec is a distinction bestowed by CALQ honouring those individuals who have played a prominent role in Québec's artistic development.
The CALQ would like to thanks its partners, the Caisse de la Culture and the newspaper Le Devoir.