John Glassco: The Canadian Wordsworth

By John Burnett

     'What about your English Canadian poets?'
     'We have Lampman, the Canadian Keats, and Carman, the Canadian Swinburne.  We also have Smith, who is sometimes hailed as the Canadian Yeats but whom I prefer to all of them.'
     'May I ask if you yourself are already the Canadian avatar of someone else, and if so of whom?'
     'So far I have not donned any mantle at all, but it was not easy.   This is probably why I embraced surrealism.'
     'I can understand, it was a way out.'

Memoirs of Montparnasse

John Glassco would have wanted to be remembered primarily as a poet.  Recent developments in the criticism of autobiography, a continuing interest in its Parisian subject-matter and, of course, a good deal of intrinsic merit have made Memoirs of Montparnasse (1970) one of the best-known and most celebrated of Canadian prose works ("the best book of prose by a Canadian that I have ever read"1 says Louis Dudek); however, Glassco's fictive autobiography, his bid for mythical status, was written (mainly in the early 'sixties) as an afterthought, a coda to a poetic career that began in the 'twenties and finally came to an end on January 29, 1981.  Even less than for his Memoirs would Glassco have wanted to be remembered primarily for his stylish essays into decadence and pornography — Harriet Marwood, Governess, Squire Hardman and the rest — most of which he published, at least initially, either anonymously or pseudonymously.  Nor would he have wanted his fiction proper to be his main claim to fame; his three novellas of The Fatal Woman (1974) he considered, with both an undue modesty and an element of truth, to be merely "three faded tributes," "three dried up little sticks of incense lit on [the] altar"2 of an obsessive, Decadent myth.  Closer to his centre than the novellas are his translations of the poetry of French Canada, notably of the work of Saint-Denys-Garneau, translations which can be considered, not merely for their translative merits, but also, as Stephen Scobie discerningly remarks, as "poems . . . existing in their own right."3 Glassco's wish to be remembered as a poet, as the author of four volumes of verse published under his own name, The Deficit Made Flesh (1958), A Point of Sky (1964), Selected Poems (1971) and Montreal (1973), may not, in the end, be granted, but there is a fundamental truth to the core of the man in the hierarchical ordering of his accomplishments in the title of his Books in Canada obituary: "John Glassco, 1909-1981, poet, translator, and pornographer, and an elegant memoirist of the Paris years."4

     Glassco's family was wealthy and of the Montreal establishment; his dictational father, against whom he rebelled vehemently (see "The Whole Hog" in The Deficit Made Flesh) was the bursar of McGill University and apparently wealthy in his own right.5 Growing up affluant in the (for him) half-savage city of Montreal and in the picturesque scenery of the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Glassco was formed by many of the same environmental and cultural forces (though in a different mix) as the poets of the McGill Movement — Smith, Klein, Scott and Kennedy: an English-speaking coterie with a great interest, willy-nilly, in French literature and French ideas.  For Glassco's sensibility, Paris was the artistic capital of the world and France the sensual mother of everything modern.  Apparently burning with the desire to be a successful surrealist poet and burning, too, with the desire to escape the parochialism of Canada, Glassco famously embarked in 1928 for Paris — "the Paris of Andre Breton and Leon-Paul Fargue."6  His brief but liberating stay in France confirmed Glassco in his characteristic love, not merely for French literature, but also for European and, almost paradoxically, English literature.  More of a presence culmulatively in the Memoirs than the French surrealists are writers of the English tradition: Keats, Marvell, Symons, Spenser, Pater, Wycherley, Rochester, Samuel Pepys, Samuel Butler, Frank Harris, George Moore. . . . (Perhaps correlatively, most American writers, including Hemingway, Pound, Williams, and Stein, are negatively treated in the Memoirs.) Besides cementing his connections with Europe and confirming his sexual freedom, Glassco's period in France acquainted him with grinding poverty and life-threatening illness.  It may thus appear that the European years provided Glassco with a concentrated dose of the bitter-sweet mixture of splendour and squalor, ecstasy and impermanence, which informs many of his finest poems.  Or it may be that Glassco was always already the compound ghost whose prelusive formation the Memoirs conspire to locate in the late 'twenties and early 'thirties.

     While there seems always to have been in Glassco's imagination and memory the incantatory association of "Paris and poetry,"7 there can be no doubt that his true Penelope was, not Breton, but Wordsworth.  During an excursion to Luxembourg in 1929, he apparently "thought about [his] favourite English poet Wordsworth, the greatest purveyor of neat emotion in the language," feeling that "it was difficult to enter the consciousness of this cold, reserved man who so mysteriously combined the poet and the prig."8  When Glassco finally abandoned surrealism in his middle years and selected "someone else," a consciousness to enter, the model whose "mantle" he elected to wear was Wordsworth — Wordsworth the poet, but not the prig.  This probably occurred in the 'forties when, after taking shelter in Foster in the Eastern Townships (where he got by "on a small private income supplemented by a few dairy cows and [during the Second World War] a rural mail route"9), he continued his irregular personal life but turned his thoughts to country matters and rural poetry.   Certainly, the poems of the Eastern Townships from "The Rural Mail" in The Deficit Made Flesh to "Luce's Notch" in A Point of Sky find Glassco assuming a Wordsworthian poetic voice.  It is a voice that is adapted to the Quebec scene in the first volume by a well-assimilated debt to the Robert Frost of such poems as "The Death of the Hired Man," "Mending Wall" and "Ghost House," and, in the second, to a metaphysical treatment of cognition by a less-well-assimilated debt to the T.S. Eliot of the Four Quartets.  In both volumes, there is a sharp and intriguing contrast between, on the one hand, the arty, urban and sophisticated subject-matter of such poems as "The Cardinal's Dog" and "Brummel at Calais" and, on the other, the simple, rural, and spiritual themes (man's relation to nature, time and memory) of the Wordsworthian poems.  In such poems as "Gentleman's Farm," "Deserted Buildings Under Shefford Mountain," and "The White Mansion" in The Deficit Made Flesh, Glassco reveals that the medium length, lyrical and meditative poem in a marmoreal form and a rural setting was at this time — and probably always — his most congenial and successful mode.  The concluding stanza of "Gentleman's Farm" exemplifies the quiet poise and the forme stricte of the volume's most resounding successes:

See that the wreck of all things made with hands
Being fixed and certain, as all flesh is grass,
       The grandiose design
Must marry the ragged matter, and of the vision
Nothing endure that does not gain through ruin
       The right, the wavering line.10

Of such poems as "Gentleman's Farm," with its vision of the inevitable and desirable ruination of all vision that is grandiose and architectonic, Milton Wilson remarks: "these . . . are Canada's lyric equivalents of Wordsworth's 'The Ruined Cottage,' 'Michael,' and 'The Brothers,' poems of fallen or unfinished sheepfolds, of unnatural piety and lost covenants: arguments from the broken design."11  Wilson was very likely thinking of the Wordsworthian poems in The Deficit Made Flesh when he included in his review of the volume a supplement to Ralph Gustafson's list in The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse (1958) of the typical concerns of contemporary Canadian poetry: "the collasped mine or barn, the soiled and discarded virgin, the ghost town, the grey snow, roads that peter out or lead to a dead structure, fruit gone soft before it ripens, parricide before puberty."12  If judged, albeit circularly, by these typical themes and images, Glassco's poetry of transience and destruction sits as near as any to the centre of the Canadian tradition.

     To argue that the Wordsworthian poems in The Deficit Made Flesh are its best need not, of course, set the value of other poems in the volume at naught.  Among the other successes in the first book are the superb "Villanelle" which begins "My love and yours must be enjoyed alone," the Audenesque "The Cardinal's Dog (Musée d'Autun)" and the very 'nineties "Shake Dancer" in which Glassco, in the manner of Symons or Yeats (as best understood, perhaps, by Frank Kermode in The Romantic Image), treats the figure of the dancer and the dance as "the end of all."13  Of "Shake Dancer," as of The Deficit Made Flesh as a whole, it can be said that, for a poetic debut, it is extraordinarily assured and well executed — the work, clearly of a man nearing fifty, as Glassco was when it appeared.  J.K. Johnstone makes this point in reviewing Glassco's first volume in The Fiddlehead: "the apprenticework has gone on behind the scenes; what we have here is quiet, unassuming competence, ready for the demands the subject may make."14   Much of the success of the Wordsworthian and the non-Wordsworthian poems in The Deficit Made Flesh comes from careful and unobtrusive craftsmanship, the art that conceals artifice.  Glassco's craftsmanship can be discovered, not only in the poems already mentioned but also in the hexameters of "The Burden of Junk," the sonnets of "Utrillo's World," in the "Ballad of the Death of Thomas Pepys, Tailor," and in the heavy and ominous nine-liners of "The Web" and "The White Mansion." The rhythms and forms of these poems help to create the sense of stylish control and graceful wildness in The Deficit Made Flesh, the sense of — in Michael Hornyansky's words — "a world civilized and measured with calm wisdom, all human circumstances brought to terms."15

     Six years after The Deficit Made Flesh, Glassco published, in 1964, A Point of Sky.  This second volume contains several poems that are, in their own ways, as successful as the finest pieces of the first collection.  Among the most successful and sustained of these are two greater romantic lyrics16 in the Wordsworthian manner: "Ode: the Autumn Resurrection" (which opens the volume) and "Luce's Notch" (which concludes its fourth and penultimate section).   Of these two responses to and continuations of the high Romantic tradition, J.K. Johnstone writes:

Coleridge wrote 'Dejection: An Ode' after he had heard the first four stanzas of Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality Ode.  'The Autumn Resurrection' orchestrates themes and rhythms from both odes with a fine fall day, advancing age, and Glassco's perception of the splendour of nature and the squalor of man.   In 'Luce's Notch' the poet, like Wordsworth in 'Tintern Abbey,' revisits a place, a ruined farmstead, last seen years before, and in his own landscape expresses his own desires. . . .17

These desires, the desire to achieve or, at least, to touch a permanence and the desire yet to maintain a yearing or a longing, find eloquent expression in the prayerful address to the landscape of "Luce's Notch" at the conclusion of that poem.  That address may be quoted at length to convey a sense of the poem's sharp, descriptive detail and its quiet, philosophical tone:

 You natural scenes to whose eternity
 My transient vision and my life are bound,
 Teach me to see: oh give me eyes all over
 To multiply the adoration that is in me
 For all your insensate parts, for every stone,
 For every little watercourse that runs
 Between its alders and forget-me-nots,
 Daisy and wild rose; keep me as I am now,
 Here on this solitary mountain-top,
 Purged of each last impulse of desire
 To make you mine, to carry you along
 On the wings of possession!  Let me be:
 Release me from the lust of wanting, grant me
 This sadness always, continuance of this vision;
 Stay with me, sorrow that is not sorrow but
 The spring of all delight, of the troubled joy
 Wherein I approach the consciousness of things
 Yearning and aching always, and so become
 Each day more closely bound to what you are.18

The philosophic mind that asks here for as many eyes for adoration as Argus finds echoes for its situation in Dante's on the mountain top of Purgatory, but Glassco's Earthly Paradise admits of no higher realm, no transcendant Paradiso beyond the desire for the "continuance of [a] vision" that is free from material possessiveness and animated by emotional desire.  At the conclusion of "A Point of Sky" and of the volume itself, the speaker expresses again his desire for a continuation of desire; here, however, the cadences of his impossible hope are Biblical and Blakean and Paterian, though their attitude is still Glassco's own:

That my regrets
May so shine before me
All the hours of my life
That I shall not sleep, and my eyes open
That I shall not die, and my heart beating
But shall remember always
The point of sky and the garden
The thing foregone and the thing achieved
So that the beauty of both is united
In one clear flame of longing.19

In its combination of the colloquial and the sonorous, the simple and the philosophical, this passage goes beyond anything in The Deficit Made Flesh.

     "A Point of Sky" also typefies another development in Glassco's second volume: the poet's attempt to subsume the voices of Eliot's Four Quartets to his rural, personal, and philosophical concerns.  Both J.K. Johnstone and Eli Mandel in reviews of A Point of Sky express reservations concerning the success of Glassco's use of Eliot.   "T.S. Eliot's voice, though the allusions to it are undoubtedly intentional," writes Johnstone, "sometimes seems to impose itself on . . . Glassco's like the interference from another station."20  For Mandel, there is present in the volume a new, weak Glassco: "the rather obviously 'modernt poet, who is not really modern at all, the bookish writer indulging in a garish display of classical-romantic-ironic-pessimistic Eliotesqueries, complete with Italian and German tags."21  More sympathetic to Glassco's polyphonic handling of voice in A Point of Sky is Diane Bessai who suggests that in pieces like the title poem "Glassco is deliverately attempting to create a poetic tension derived from the combination of his own voice and that of a model."22

     From Bessai's suggestion a Bakhtinian argument could be built that in A Point of Sky as a whole, as in several individual poems in this very miscellaneous volume, Glassco is capitalizing on the polyphonic nature of all poetic utterance and aiming towards the presentation of a relativistic medlay or collage of voices.  Arguably the medlay or collage effect reflects a concern with multiformity and multiplicity and beneath this, a rejection of any single solution to the problems of life and poetry beyond the mere persistence of that life, that poetry, and, with these, of "longing" — the ateleological desire to burn with a "clear," if not gem-like, "flame."  Such an urge towards plurality is at once confirmed and contradicted by Glassco's evident sense of his own self as a unifying, inclusive entity and by the orientation of that self towards one assumed, synthetic whole — English and European civilization.  Despite their diversity, the bulk of the slighter and shorter poems in the collection — "The Death of Don Quixote," "Brummel at Calais," the translations of Gautier and Propertius, even "After Reading Seven Very High-Class Current English Novels, Sent Me in a Parcel" — assume and bespeak that orientation as loudly as does the conclusion of "A Point of Sky."  The poem which speaks loudest of the hostility of Glassco's fundamentally genteel attempt to wring lilies and acorns from rural Canadian soil to current developments in North American poetry is "Lines Addressed to a Dozen Young Canadian Poets, After Unwisely Devouring Five Little Magazines at a Sitting":

Enough, enough.     Gentlemen, I protest

Over and over and over
These momentos of your fornications
Vignettes of your sensitive childhood
Kicks from jazz —
And all these poetics about poetics about poetics
And the fearsome insults and fulsome accolades
And your girl-friend's vulva
And your trip to Mexico

Please, gentlemen, please.23

The prig in Wordsworth (and, for that matter, in Eliot) seems here to have found voice.  Small wonder that in reviewing A Point of Sky for Alphabet bill bissett wrote: "I don't like any of these poems.   They all dragged me. . . . I want breath, and th feel someone's spirit there.   They all look like bad trips to me . . . seeing pretty pictures they're ugly See Glassco get th air thru yur window no English literature its do yu feel good."24 A Point of Sky, it may be noted, is dedicated to "the Canadian Yeats," A.J.M. Smith, who wrote an anonymous and fulsome preface to the volume, characterizing Glassco as "a philosophical poet in the classical tradition" whose "sensibility is always modern."25

     Bissett's hostility to A Point of Sky provides a clue to why Glassco's Selected Poems, though it won the Governor General's Award, received only token reviews when it appeared in 1971 — the same year as George Bowerling's Geneve, bp nichol's Monotones and bissett's own Blew Trewz, Dragon Fly, Drifting into War, and Nobody Owns the Earth.  Ironically, many of Glassco's characteristic images and concerns — ruined buildings, local places and people, the vanity of constructive vision — share a common ground with the aggressively North American poetry of the 'sixties and 'seventies — a poetry which, as his "Lines" indicates, seemed to him to lack reticence, interest, decorum and — to quote Smith again — "formal perfection."26 Although it contains a seemingly artless sound poem ("Catbird") the Selected Poems of 1971 belongs to an earlier, more genteel and structured era of Canadian poetry: "Catbird" is dedicated to Marian (the wife of Frank) Scott and the contents of the volume as a whole were selected and arranged by Smith; its four part structure and musical27 handling of themes recall the Four Quartets; and its best poems draw heavily, albeit creatively or syntropically,28 on increasingly unfashionable models: Wordsworth, Eliot, Auden, and a small galaxy of English and European poets, including Marvell, Collins, Tennyson, Donne, and Dylan Thomas.  In high Modern fashion, the volume is textured with implicit or explicit references to the Bible, Don Quixote, St. Augustine, Thomas à Kempis, the Musée d'Autun, the French poets of the nineteenth century.  Its closing poem, one of the few, relatively new additions to the volume, places an allusion to Baudelaire's "Le Voyage" at the disposal of its declaration that the true travellers are those who embark for the journey's sake, seeking only a modest and momentary perfection whose image, echoing much nineteenth-century English and French poetry, is the vital yet mortal flight of a bird:

The embarkation for Cythera
Is eternal because it ends nowhere:
No port for those tasselled sails! And for our love
No outcome,
Only the modesty
The perfection
Of the flight or death of a bird.29

Although Glassco's habits of mind and feeling were deeply influenced by the writers of the European Decadence, there is a ring of Tennyson's "Ulysses"30 to this passage which confirms his true affiliation, his kinship with the high Romantic tradition that descends from Wordsworth to Tennyson and, thence, to Frost, the Georgians and to the last Victorians — the Eliot of Four Quartets and the Glassco whose poems are, at best, the unique and accomplished heirs of their chosen tradition and, at least, "technically interesting because of the attempt to write in a language and in forms which the present age does not generally find congenial."31

     Glassco's last volume and last poem of length is Montreal, an urban, satirical and topographical poem published in 1973.  Organized into a five-part structure, and using throughout the modernist technique of montage, Montreal strongly recalls The Waste Land; indeed, it contains many deliberate allusions to Eliot's poem, as well as a similar, but less witty, appendix of "Notes" giving details of its sources and parallels.  Montreal attracted little attention when it appeared.  It was, however, sympathetically if feebly reviewed by Douglas Barbour in the Dalhousie Review:

It is by turns witty, satirical, nostalgic, scholarly, learned and loving, and it is always perceptive.  Montreal is practically a primer on traditional techniques, and proves once again, if proof were needed, that John Glassco is a superb poetic craftsman.  It's also a fine poem.32

Despite Barbour's praise, Montreal is largely a failure; while highly polished, intelligent and, in many places, pointedly ironical ("The slums of Saint Henri/Were also coming along nicely"33), the poem lacks the fundamental quality of Glassco's best work: felt experience.  Its historical retrospections — its fragments of the city's history seen in the "rear-vision mirror"34 of the latter days (Glassco's own and his home city's) — seem remote from Glassco's personal and imaginative experience.   Unlike "The Whole Hog," which is uncharacteristically subjective, Montreal is in many places too consciously objective.  When Glassco attempts frankness as never before, the result is bathetic:

(Sound the knell for Hochelaga!)
Soon to go, the pleasure also
Of communal fornication. . .

In the warm and smoky log-house —
Wives and husbands, widows, maidens,
Young men, old men, little children
All ecstatically fucking,
Groaning, grunting, laughing, yelling. . . .35

"Communal fornication" has the mark of Glassco's stylish yet anti-conventional gentility; the rest — perhaps in part Glassco's guess at what the age demanded — has the adolescent shock value of the worst Tish poetry.  It is in a few passages of incidental and personal meditation that Montreal achieves its little successes.  One such passage ends, not surprisingly, with an allusion to the 'Intimations Ode': on a street bearing the "blessed name" of Jeanne Mance, says the speaker, there ironically

. . . stood, when I was young, a stately house
Pre-eminent in the houses of ill-fame
Of our metropolis; there did I lose
My too-long tried virginity.  O bliss!
I was fourteen, and warm beyond my years.
Nothing on earth, I thought, can quite come up to this.
Jeanne, these are the thoughts that lie too deep for tears.36

This is typical of Glassco's best, later poetry in its combination of polyphoic texture and lyrical individualism, its recognition of the disjunctive tension between the real and the ideal, and its celebration of the importance and endurance of ecstasy.  This is the Glassco who remodels Wordsworth the poet while rejecting Wordsworth the prig.

     John Glassco was neither narrowly traditional nor out of touch (though he may have been out of key) with his time: his tradition included Gautier and Breton, Berkeley and Brummel, Auden and Cervantes, Sacher-Masoch and Marvell, Beardsley and Smith, and, above all in his poetry, Wordsworth and Eliot.  Yet because his perspective was characteristically though not exclusively that of a "rear-vision mirror" he found more to dislike than to admire in the contemporary world and contemporary literature.  He was a cosmopolitan primitive with roots in both Rousseau and Baudelaire, a rural sophisticate with affinities for both Frost and Horace, a utopian decadent, a liberated Victorian, an ecstatic fatalist — indeed "The Duality of Will," the title under which he projected his own "philosophical system,"37 could well stand as a testament to the tensions that he at the heart of his intellectual and aesthetic preoccupations Glassco's poetry will continue to be read, where sympathy dictates, for its cultivated and Iyrical, philosophical and conversational qualities, for its stylishness, its literariness, its formalism, and its simplicity, its directness, and its informality; for the unique and complex vision which it will enduringly offer even while denying the possibility of endurance, complexity, uniqueness, and vision.  In his 1965 review of A Point of Sky, Eli Mandel writes that

in its formal perfection, its decorous language, and its stately control of tonal movements [Glassco's] verse demands, however politely, that we reconsider our notion of what is relevant or significant in our poetry at this moment.38

That moment is now and in this place.  The point of embarkation is the concluding request of the Selected Poems: "Listen. . . ."


This paper could not have been written without the help of friends and scholars at Cambridge I would like particularly to thank Jane Moffat for her warm support.

  1. "A Decadent in Canada in the 1970s?   Yes!" [Review of Memoirs of Montparnasse] Gazette (Montreal), February 7, 1970, p. 20.[back]

  2. "Preface," The Fatal Woman (Toronto: Anansi, 1974), p. iv.[back]

  3. "To Do Nothing and Never Die," Books in Canada, April, 1981, p. 20.[back]

  4. Ibid., p. 19.[back]

  5. See Leon Edel, "John Glassco (1909-1981) and his Erotic Muse," Canadian Literature, 93 (Summer, 1982), 109-110.[back]

  6. Memoirs of Montparnasse, with an Introduction by Leon Edel (Toronto, New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 29.[back]

  7. Ibid., p. 214.[back]

  8. Ibid., p. 71.[back]

  9. Charles Murdoch, "The Essential Glassco," Canadian Literature, 65 (Summer, 1975), 31.[back]

  10. The Deficit Made Flesh (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1958), p. 26.[back]

  11. [Review of The Deficit Made Flesh], The Canadian Forum, 39 (June, 1959), p. 65.[back]

  12. Ibid.[back]

  13. The Deficit Made Flesh, p. 62.[back]

  14. "Morning Made Sun" [Review of The Deficit Made Flesh], The Fiddlehead, 40 (Spring, 1959), 47.[back]

  15. "Poetry" [Review of Selected Poems] in Letters in Canada, University of Toronto Quarterly, XLI (Summer 1972), 335.[back]

  16. See M.H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp (Oxford Univ.  Press, 1953), pp.  84-88 for a discussion of the development of the "greater Iyric" from the "greater ode."[back]

  17. [Review of A Point of Sky], The Fiddlehead, 66 (Fall 1965), 72.[back]

  18. A Point of Sky (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 72.[back]

  19. Ibid., p. 78.[back]

  20. Opcit., p. 70.[back]

  21. "A Special Adequacy" [Review of A Point of Sky], Canadian Literature, 26 (Autumn, 1965), 72.[back]

  22. "Eclectic Craftsman" [Review of A Point of Sky], The Canadian Forum, 45 (July 1965), p. 94.[back]

  23. A Point of Sky, p. 57.[back]

  24. [Review of A Point of Sky], Alphabet, [11] (December, 1965-March, 1966), 76.[back]

  25. "A Point of Sky" [Preface], A Point of Sky, [p. 1].  Neither Michael Darling in A.J.M.  Smith: An Annotated Bibliography (Montreal: Véhicule,1981) nor Anne Burke in "A.J.M. Smith: An Annotated Bibliography" in The Annotated Bibliography of Canada's Major Authors, eds. Robert Lecker and Jack David (Downsview: ECW, 1983), IV, 267-366 includes this Preface, though the latter includes Smith's "John Glassco" in Contemporary Poets of the English Language, ed. Rosalie Murphy (London: St. James, 1970), pp. 423-425.  See I.S. MacLaren, "The Yeatsian Presence in A.J.M. Smith's "Like an Old, Proud King in a Parable," Canadian Poetry 4 (Spring/Summer, 1979), 59-64 for a valuable examination of Glassco's "Canadian Yeats."[back]

  26. A Point of Sky [p. 1].[back]

  27. See Murdock, "Essential Glassco," p. 32.[back]

  28. This unnecessarily recondite term is used by D.M.R. Bentley in an otherwise unremarkable article entitled "A New Dimension: Notes on the Ecology of Canadian Poetry," Canadian Poetry, 7 (Fall/Winter, 1980), 1-20.[back]

  29. Selected Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 94.[back]

  30. See Munro Beattie, "Poetry 1950-1960" in Literary History of Canada, ed.  Carl F. Klinck et. al. (University of Toronto Press, 1973), p. 799 for the comment that in "Deserted Buildings Under Shefford Mountain" there is a "strain oddly reminiscent of the tone and rhythms of In Memoriam."[back]

  31. B.W. Jones [Review of A Point of Sky], Queen's Quarterly, 72 (Winter, 1966), 696.[back]

  32. [Review of Montreal], Dalhousie Review 53 (Winter, 1973-74), 785.  For a hostile and silly review of the poem, see Miriam Waddington, "But How Does Glassco Feel about Montreal?", The Globe and Mail, November 17, 1973, p.  34 and for a sympathetic and silly response to it, see MacLean Jamieson, "John Glassco: The Eye of the Stranger;" Part Two: Montreal," Applegarth's Folly 2 (1975), 141-152 (Part 1 of this article appears in Appelgarth's Folly 1 (n.d.), 68-76.  Glassco's Montreal could fruitfully be studied in relation to such poems as A.M. Klein's "Montreal" (mentioned by Glassco in his "Notes") and George Longmore's The Charivari (not mentioned by Glassco, but seminally examined by Tracy Ware in "George Longmore's The Charivari: A Poem 'After the Manner of Beppo," Canadian Poetry, 10 [Spring/Summer, 1982], 1-17).[back]

  33. Montreal (Montreal: D.C. Books, 1973), p. 24.[back]

  34. Ibid., p. 28.[back]

  35. Ibid., pp. 5-6.  For a similar but more searching (and, of course, scholarly) examination of the Indians in Canadian literature see Gerald Lynch's extraordinarily titled "An Endless Flow: D.C. Scott's Indian Poems," Studies in Canadian Literature 7, 1 (1982), 27-54.[back]

  36. Ibid., p. 12.[back]

  37. Memoirs, p. 106.[back]

  38. "A Special Adequacy," p. 71.[back]