Year's Work in Canadian Poetry Studies: 1981
In the following
bibliography of criticism on English-Canadian poetry published in 1981, journal articles
have been summarized or abstracted according to the requirements imposed by the nature of
the material. Full-length studies and interviews have also been included, generally
without summational comment.
The annotated checklists of the year's work in Canadian Poetry Studies for 1976, 1977,
1978, 1979, and 1980 can be found in Nos. 2, 4, 6, and 8 of Canadian Poetry.
"The Composition and Text of Joseph Howe's
Poetry, no. 8 (Spring/Summer
Parks posits an early date of
completion (1833-1834) for Howe's posthumously published poem based upon analysis of
manuscripts and contemporaneous letters which provide keys to structure and composition.
"A Reading of Joseph Howe's Acadia." Canadian
Poetry, no. 9 (Fall/Winter
Analyzes Howe's posthumous long
poem, exploring in its tensions between nature and culture Howe's ambivalence toward the
historical development of Nova Scotia and seeing the poem's shadings as an admonitory /
prophetic social document.
"'The Clearer Self': Lampman's Transcendental-
Visionary Development." Canadian
Poetry, no. 8 (Spring/
Summer 1981), 33-55.
Providing an overview of recent
Lampman criticism which calls for more sustained attention to the poet's philosophical
development, Arnold assesses the evolution of Lampman's poetic vision from an early
Emersonianism to a later recognition of nature's ambivalence.
"Watchful Dreams and Sweet Unrest: An Essay
on the Vision of Archibald Lampman,
Pt. I." Studies in
Canadian Literature, 6:2
Bentley places Lampman's major
visionary poetry in the context of a "world view" which sees organic and
temporal correspondences between nature and human life. Constructing a conceptual
geography of Lampman's universe, Bentley examines the patterns of cyclicality which
ultimately result in a creative balancing of forces and a regenerative promise providing
illumination to the poet's "excursive mind." (Article to be continued)
"A Northern Pantheism: Notes on the
Confederation Poets and
Canadian Poetry, no.
9 (Fall/Winter 1981), 34-49.
Bhojwani suggests a
self-consciously mythopoeic phase brought into Canadian poetry by Carman, Roberts,
Lampman, and Campbell, drawing many of its images from contemporary investigations into
solar, stellar, and vegetative myths.
Carman, Bliss. Letters
of Bliss Carman. Ed. H. Pearson Gundy.
Kingston and Montreal:
McGill-Queen's University Press,
[c1981]. 388 pp.
Incorporates selected Carman
correspondence 1874-1929, with appendices providing location of primary materials and
"'An Old-World Radiance': Roberts' Orion
and Other Poems."
Canadian Poetry, no. 8 (Spring/
Summer 1981), 8-32.
An attempt to rescue the Orion
poems from the critical ambivalence of both their author and subsequent commentators
which has led, Early feels, to unwarrented neglect.
Dorothy. "New Light on Crawford's Early Years."
Canadian Literature, no.
90 (Autumn 1981), 168-174.
Presents information regarding
Crawford's life in Paisley and Lakefield, Ontario.
Keller, Betty. Pauline:
A Biography of Pauline Johnson.
Vancouver and Toronto: Douglas
& McIntyre, [c1981].
317 pp., illus.
Lynn, Helen, ed. An
Annotated Edition of the Correspondence
between Archibald Lampman and
Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1980.
ed. "James De Mille's 'Phi Beta Kappa Poem.'"
Canadian Poetry, no.
9 (Fall/Winter 1981), 89-99.
Monk introduces De Mille's 1879
Phi Beta Kappa Anniversary poem and develops its relationship to his A Strange
Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder and Behind the Veil.
"Drummond The Legend and the
Literature, no. 90 (Autumn
popularity and critical reputation of the verse of W.H. Drummond.
"Crawford's Move to Toronto." Canadian
90 (Autumn 1981), 168.
Discusses the significance of
Crawford's joining the Toronto Mechanics' Institute, June 20, 1876.
"Words After Music: A Musical Reading
of Scott's 'Night Hymns on Lake
Canadian Poetry, no.
8 (Spring/Summer 1981), 56-63.
Using D.C. Scott's musicality as
a point of departure, Roberts explores its influence on image patterns, metrics and
cadences, and contrapuntal structures within what she classifies as one of Scott's major
"An Immense Answering of Human Skies:
The Poetry of Margaret
Avison." In The Human
Elements: Second Series.
Ed. David Helwig.
Ottawa: Oberon Press, [c1981],
A personal and poetic encounter
with the body of Avison's work, using her Christian conversion as the movement toward a
"new music" of the self in a testimony of commitment.
"'Conversation with the Star Messenger':
An Enquiry into Margaret Avison's Winter
Studies in Canadian
Literature, 6:1 (1981), 82-132.
Conceived as a "companion
piece" to Avison's text, the essay offers a personal response to poems in Winter
Sun, expanding upon images of colour, ritualized social activity, religious
implications, and the nature of reality.
Elizabeth. "Reconstructing The Victorian
House: Philip Child's
Poetry, no. 9
(Fall/Winter 1981), 16-33.
Bieman opens Child's narrative
poem as a "mimesis of process" by exploring its literary echoes. Long considered
static and formulaic, The Victorian House is regarded here as the self-creation of
a dynamic persona through assimilation in a "dance of symbols" of a Christian
intellectual and artistic tradition.
"Child Addict in Alberta." [Autobiographical
Vignette] Canadian Literature,
no. 90 (Autumn
"Plymouth Brother." Canadian Literature,
no. 90 (Autumn 1981), 25-37.
An autobiographical commentary
first broadcast, in slightly different form, on the CBC in 1979.
E. A.J.M. Smith: An Annotated
Montreal: Véhicule Press, .
and bp Nichol, eds. "Louis Dudek: Texts &
Essays." Open Letter,
ser. 4, nos. 8/9 (Spring/
Summer 1981). 317 pp., illus.,
Issue devoted entirely to Dudek,
containing manuscripts, sketches, drafts and final printed versions of selected works;
drafts of a previously unpublished lyric ("Silence"); critical essays by Dudek
(1943-1980); and an extensive interview via an exchange of letters by Bowering, Davey,
McCaffery, and Nichol.
David, Jack, and
Robert Lecker, eds. Perspectives on
Earle Birney. Downsview:
ECW Press, 1981.
(Canadian Perspectives, 3) 183 pp.
Includes critical perspectives on
all aspects of Birney's work and an article by Birney himself, "Struggle against the
Old Guard: Editing the Canadian Poetry Magazine." Also published as Essays
on Canadian Writing, no. 21 (Spring 1981).
"Semantics and Semitics: The Early
Poetry of A.M. Klein." University
Quarterly, 51:2 (Winter
Golfman explores Klein's
compulsion to document the cultural dimension of Jewish experience through consideration
of influences early Talmudic scholarship, Kabbalistic meditations and rabbinical
studies upon the poetry 1925-1935. The article works toward establishing a balance
between the personal, private poems and those published, showing Klein's impulse to refine
and distance a more feeling self through irony and verbal intricacy into a public stance
as creative puzzler.
"Some Literary Reminiscences of the
Eastern Town ships." Ellipse,
25/26 (1980), 146-154.
Gustafson writes of local
influences upon his and others' development: Drummond, Call, Bowman, F.R. Scott, and
"The Wounded Eye: The Poetry of Douglas
LePan." Studies in Canadian
Literature, 6: 1
Using visual imagery as a point
of departure, Kertzer discusses perception as a developing symbolic pattern in LePan's
Milner, Phil. "The
Apprentice's Sorcerer." Books in
(August/September 1981), 3-6.
Profile of Fred Cogswell, poet,
translator, editor, and publisher of Fiddlehead Poetry Books.
Page, P.K. "Extracts from a
Brasilian Journal." Canadian
90 (Autumn 1981), 40-59.
Excerpts from an autobiographical
journal, February-August 1957.
Precosky, Don. "Preview:
An Introduction and Index."
Canadian Poetry, no.
8 (Spring/Summer 1981),
Precosky describes the founding
and tonalities of Preview, published in Montreal 1942-1945, discusses
controversies with the First Statement circle, and evaluates the magazine's
contribution to Canadian literature of its period.
Shore, Marlene. "'Overtures
of an Era Being Born.' F.R.
Scott: Cultural Nationalism and
1925-1939." Journal of
15:4 (Winter 1980/81), 31-42.
Discusses the growth of
English-Canadian literary and social consciousness during the inter-war period, exploring
divergences between British and North American orientations, and correlating aspects of
Scott's career in the context of the cultural nationalism of his time.
Sproxton, Birk, ed. Sounds
Assembling: The Poetry of
Bertram Brooker. Winnipeg:
1980. 71 pp.
The introduction (pp. 7-13) seeks
to establish the context and importance of Brooker as a modernist Canadian poet.
Steven, Laurence. "Purging
the Fearful Ghosts of
Separateness: A Study of Earle
Canadian Poetry, no.
9 (Fall/Winter 1981), 1-15.
Examining the published versions
of "Transcontinental" and "Man Is A Snow," Steven illustrates
developments toward broader and deeper perspectives in theme, an evolving poetic stance,
and increasing concern with craft and technique.
Whiteman, Bruce, ed.
"Raymond Souster's Letters to
Charles Olson." Canadian
Poetry, no. 9 (Fall/
Winter 1981), 72-88.
Whiteman reproduces fifteen
letters, 1952-1965, in the Contact- Combustion period, stressing Souster's
sponsorship of the Black Mountain movement in Canada through these periodicals and
Barker, Terry, Aileen LeRoux, and
"An Interview with Milton
Acorn." Intrinsic, 7/8
(Spring 1979), 160-174.
Bartlett, Donald R. "Gary
Geddes' War and other
Analysis." Canadian Poetry,
no. 8 (Spring/Summer 1981), 64-73.
Delineates the unifying rhetoric
of violence which Geddes uses to bind historical experience with a contemporary Canadian
Bowering, George. "Margaret
Studies in Canadian Literature,
Bowering speculates upon aspects
of persona in Atwood's several books of poetry, as the poet feels her way into the
ultimate tactile powers of authorship through the molding and self-fashioning process.
"Metaphysic in Time: The
Poetry of Lionel Kearns."
In The Human Element:
Ed. David Helwig. Ottawa: Oberon
Acknowledges Kearns' reticence
and innovational forms as an active, ongoing process, constantly in motion, with the
personal discoveries of the rebel (Catholic) artist as its thematic underpinning.
Broege, Valerie. "Margaret
Atwood's Americans and
Canadians." Essays on
Canadian Writing, no. 22
(Summer 1981), 111-135.
Explores "the origin,
nature, and variety of Atwood's personal attitudes concerning Americans and Canadians and
the reflection of these attitudes in her poetry and fiction."
"Interview" [with Patrick Lane] Books in
(December 1981), 31-33.
Davidson, Arnold E., and Cathy N.
The Art of Margaret Atwood:
Essays in Criticism.
Toronto: Anansi Press, [c1981]. 304
Essay collection including
material on the seven books of poetry, plus a checklist of writings by and about Atwood to
Dowling, David. "'To Find a
Local Speech': Mike Doyle
and the Poet's Progress." West
15:3 (Winter 1981), 25-32.
Discusses Doyle's attempts to
establish a poetics of place from his time in New Zealand, the United States, and Canada
in personal, lyrical, and formal aesthetic styles.
Henighan, Tom. "Creativity
and the Experience of the
Holocaust: An Interview with Irving
(Spring/Summer 1981), 20-26.
Hillis, Doris. "CA&B
Profile: Saskatchewan's Gertrude
Story 'Touching Upon
Deep Truths.'" Canadian
Author & Bookman,
56:2 (Winter 1981), 16-17.
Kappler, Mary Ellen, and Mike
Zizis. "An Interview with
Margaret Atwood." Intrinsic,
7/8 (Spring 1979), 92-95.
MacFarlane, David. "The
People's Choice; Passage in the
Life of Milton Acorn." Books
in Canada, 10:6
(June/July 1981), 3-.
Profile of Acorn describing his
present activities and poetic directions.
MacLulich, T.D. "Ondaatje's
Mechanical Boy: Portrait of
the Artist as Photographer." Mosaic,
Discusses the narrator's role in The
Collected Works of Billy the Kid as recorder-participant, finding a modernist response
to technology in Billy's reaching toward self-mechanization.
Marchand, Blame. "WQ
Interviews Dorothy Rath."
Quarterly, 3: 1
(Winter 1981), 13-14.
Norris, Ken. "'With Alfred
Jarry in Mind': The Poetry
of Tom Konyves." CVII,
5:3 (Summer 1981), 34-36.
Norris discusses Konyves recent
poetry and its affinities to Alfred Jarry's concept of" 'pataphysics."
"PCR Interview with
Elizabeth Woods." Poetry
Canada Review, 3:
1 (Fall 1981), 8.
"PCR Interview with Phyllis
Webb." Poetry Canada
Review, 2:3 (Spring
"PCR Interview with Stephen
Scobie." Poetry Canada
(Winter 1981/82), 8.
Regan, Stephen. "Poet Erin
Mouré Tracks Her Progress
from Brown Paper Bags to the Wide
[Interview] Books in Canada,
10:4 (April 1981), 30-31.
Skelton, Robin, ed. Six Poets
of British Columbia.
Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1980. 176
The introduction (pp. 13-27)
points out significant aspects of British Columbia poetry as it correlates with the
natural landscape. Poets represented: Murray, Lillard, Gom, Cathers, Kishkan, and
Line: Phyllis Webb In Conversation with
Douglas Barbour and Steve
Scobie." Writing, 4
(Winter 1981/82), 22-25.
Twigg, Alan. For
Openers: Conversations with 24
Canadian Writers. [Madeira
Publishing, 1981. 271 pp., illus.
Includes interviews with the
following poets: Purdy, Trower, Cohen, Bissett, Livesay, Musgrave, Atwood, and Lee.
Portions of the book previously published in Quill & Quire, Vancouver
Province, Georgia Straight, Vancouver Free Press, and NeWest
"Participation in the Past: John Newlove
and 'The Pride.'" Essays on
no. 20 (Winter 1980/81), 230-240.
Wood discusses Newlove's
"The Pride" in the context of an individual search for the past as a key to
personal identity. Viewing the composition process as an act of re-creation, she places
Newlove among the poets who become "makers of living myths".
"The Dynamite Man: A Chapter
in Autobiography." Canadian
Literature, no. 90
(Autumn 1981), 14-24.
"Skills Vital to the Scene: Canadian
Criticism and Poetry." Poetry
2:3 (Spring 1981), 5.
Bentley surveys the state of
Canadian poetry criticism, suggesting that concern with early works may bring a fuller
sense of continuity with the past and stressing a creative interaction between poets and
Stretching Landscape: Notes on Some
Formalistic Continuities in the
Poetry of the
Hinterland." CVII, 5:3
(Summer 1981), 6-18.
Bentley takes structure as a key
to theme, exploring the twin concepts of openness and closure as they reflect the Canadian
landscape in the form of the nation's poetry. Vastness in the hinterland finds its
embodiment in freer and more open forms, metaphors of spaciousness, and Whitmaniacal
exuberance, with contemporary groundbreaking into new experimentation.
ed. Leaflets of a Surfacing Response:
1st Symposium [on]
Canadian Literature in Germany.
[Bremen: University of Bremen
Press, 1980].  pp.
Pp. 31-41: "A.M. Klein's Second Scroll and Joyce's Ulysses: Some
Allusive Relationships" (Heidenreich); pp. 63-67: "Leonard Cohen, A Modern
A Native Heritage: Images of the Indian
Literature. Toronto, Buffalo
and London: University of Toronto
Press, [c1981]. 193 pp.
A survey of the Indian as a
figure in English-Canadian poetry, fiction, and drama from territorial antagonist to
mythic pastoral hero.
Nadel, Ira Bruce.
Jewish Writers of North America:
A Guide to Information
Sources. Detroit: Gale
Research Company, [c1981].
Information Guide Series, 8) 493
guide including citations on the following Canadian poets: Ascher, Cohen, Cooperman,
Edelstein, Faludy, Gotlieb, Jonas, Klein, Layton, Mandel, Mayne, Rosenblatt, Solway,
Waddington, and Wayman.
Taking It to the Letter. [Montreal]:
Quadrant Editions, . 159 pp.
Includes selected correspondence
from Woodcock to such poets as Atwood, Purdy, Birney, Livesay, Smith, and Page.