The Year’s Work in Canadian Poetry Studies: 1983

In the following bibliography of criticism on English-Canadian poetry published in 1983, 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, 1980, 1981, and 1982 can be found in Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 of Canadian Poetry.


Bentley, D.M.R. “Through Endless Landscapes: Notes on Charles Sangster’s The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 27 (Winter 1983-84), 1-24.

Bentley works toward a systematic analytical reading of The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay (1856), exploring both its derivations — in Milton, Byron and Goldsmith, specifically — and its confrontation with uniquely Canadian and personal themes. Formal borrowings are fused with the immediacy of both his own courtship and his emotional response to landscape in the creation of this early but significant work.

Edelberg, Cynthia Dubin. “The Shaping of a Political Poet: Five Newfound Verses by Jonathan Odell.” Early American Literature, 18:1 (Spring 1983), [45]-70

Odell is redefined according to early poems published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle of 1768, suggesting religio-political dimensions of North American civil history and finally defending a conservative Anglican position. Odell is seen, however, more as a poet than a politician, as Edelberg stresses an overriding artistic response.

Granger, Bruce. “The Hudibrastic Poetry of Jacob Bailey.” Early American Literature, 17:1 (Spring 1982), [54]-64.

Granger discusses the four major Hudibrastic poems of Bailey, the Massachusetts Anglican minister who settled in Nova Scotia in 1779, placing these works in the context of the Loyalist movement for his American readers and illuminating Bailey’s burlesques of such contemporary figures as Benjamin Franklin and George III.


Bhojwani, Maia. “ ‘The Tides’: Roberts’ Sonnet about the Sonnet.” Journal of Canadian Poetry, 3:2 (Winter 1981), 14-21.

Places “The Tides” and other Roberts sonnets in the context of the Victorian “wave theory” of the sonnet form.

Clever, Glenn. “Lampman’s ‘Comfort of the Fields.’” Journal of Canadian Poetry, 3:2 (Winter 1981), 55-62.

Seeing Lampman’s poem as problematic, Clever analyses its “alogical” structure and “undirected” movement, its “unity of mood” and “sense of order,” and concludes by finding the poem limited in power and appeal.

Cooke, Dorothy. An Index to Acadiensis 1901-1908. Halifax: Dalhousie University Libraries, 1983. (Dalhousie University Libraries and Dalhousie University School of Library Service Occasional Paper, 32) 200 pp.

Early, L.R. “Lampman’s Love Poetry.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 27 (Winter 1983-84), 116-149.

Early explores the pervasive tensions in Lampman’s love poetry between those directed toward establishment and domestic bliss figured in Maud, his wife, and those yearning toward erotic and visionary projections, embodied in Katherine Waddell. The article traces as well the stylistic derivations from Elizabethan and Romantic forms, drawing allusions to and from specific poems.

_____, ed. “Twenty-five Fugitive Poems by Archibald Lampman.” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983), 46-70.

Early brings together these twenty-five poems uncollected in the principal editions of Lampman by way of providing a contour of the poet’s oeuvre. Nineteen were published in periodicals (1882-1898), but of this group six are unlisted in the main bibliographies and three have not been heretofore recorded, while the last six appeared posthumously.

Farmiloe, Dorothy. Isabella Valancy Crawford: The Life and Legends. Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1983. xvi, 90 pp.

Foshay, Toby A.  J.D. Logan: Canadian Man of Letters; A Bio-critical and Bibliographical Study with a Checklist of the Logan Papers in the Acadia University Library. Hantsport, N.S.: Published for Acadia University Library by Lancelot Press, 1982. 209 pp.

Grant, S.D. “Indian Affairs under Duncan Campbell Scott: The Plains Cree of Saskatchewan 1913-1931.” Journal of Canadian Studies, 18:3 (Fall 1983), 21-39.

Focusses on Scott’s governmental rather than literary activities.

Kelly, Catherine. “In the Vague Spaces of Duncan Campbell Scott’s Poetry.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:1 (1983), 61-92.

In this article and its companion study, Scott’s language of poetic ecstasy provides a key to Kelly’s reading of spiritual immediacy in enlivened nature and metaphors of “supernatural reality.”

_____ . “Tremoured with Fire: Duncan Campbell Scott’s Love Poetry.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:2 (1983), 194-220.

The transcendental aspects of Scott’s love poetry are traced using “The Water Lily” as an initial focus, revealing the poem’s stylistic features, stressing structural and organic metaphorical parallels, and examining the ecstasy of the lily-sun relationship. Here the solar process becomes a figure for human sexual encounter but is expanded further to become an image of transcendent spiritual love. Kelly finds a variation of this technique in “June Lyrics” and the “Twelfth Anniversary” sonnets, where human encounters at the centre of the poems return to nature for their transcendent expansion.

Lecker, Robert, Jack David, and Ellen Quigley, eds. Canadian Writers and Their Works: Poetry Series, vol. 2. Introduction by George Woodcock. Downsview: ECW Press, 1983. 289 pp.

Critical essays on the form, context and development of Confederation poets: Campbell (G. Wicken), Carman (T. Whalen), Lampman (L.R. Early), Roberts (F. Cogswell) and D.C. Scott (G. Johnston).

MacGillivray, S.R., and J.D. Rabb. “Three Lampman Letters.” Canadian Literature, no. 97 (Summer 1983), 175-177.

The discovery of three hitherto unknown letters from Lampman’s father underline the family financial anxieties during the late 1880s and confirm “something other than merely the subjective response of an overly sensitive romantic spirit” in the poet’s seeming desperation of that period.

Noonan, Gerald. “Perceptions of Drummond, ‘Cet Idiome Bâtard,’ and the French Canadian Pastorale.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 27 (Winter 1983-84), 35-40.

Although Drummond’s popular dialect verse worked to encourage French-Canadian stereotypes — even to a joint “pairing of primitives” appearance at the Montreal Folklore Club in 1896 with an expert on African tribal oddities — his linguistic and sociological attention was sensitive and precise. Drummond’s image of the habitant was a comfortable illusion for English Canada, defining the French experience essentially as “local colour.”

Precosky, Don. “Bliss Carman — A Second Look.” Journal of Canadian Poetry, 3:2 (Winter 1981), 22-30.

After surveying the history of critical responses to Carman, Precosky examines the “influence of the seagoing culture of the Maritimes” with particular reference to Ballads of Lost Haven (1897).

Scott, Duncan Campbell. The Poet and the Critic: A Literary Correspondence between D.C. Scott and E.K. Brown. Edited with an introduction and notes by Robert L. McDougall. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1983. 308 pp.

Stich, K.P. “North of Blue Ontario’s Shore: Spells of Emerson and Whitman in D.C. Scott’s Poetry.” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983), 1-12.

Scott’s grudging Whitmania as well as attraction to Emersonian transcendentalism helped shape much of his work but the impulse toward defining Canadian differences assigned his poetry its uniquely Northern identity.

Walker, Fred. “Flying His Own Colours: The Patriotic Poetry of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts.” Journal of Canadian Poetry, 3:2 (Winter 1981), 48-54.

Attempts to rehabilitate Roberts’ currently unfashionable patriotic poetry, revealing the poet’s adherence to and departures from views expressed in his introduction to the 1942 anthology Flying Colours.

Ware, Tracy. “Remembering It All Well: ‘The Tantramar Revisited.’” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:2 (1983), 221-237.

Roberts’ Romantic influences are carefully traced, especially in the Wordsworthian echoes from “Tintern Abbey.” Ware’s primary emphasis lies in an evaluation of previous critical discussion in terms of its response to central themes, anatomizing “The Tantramar Revisited” as a “Romantic return poem,” figuring Romantic naturalism as an act of the poetic imagination centred in the responsive individual.


Bentley, D.M.R., ed. [John Glassco Special Issue]. Canadian Poetry, no. 13 (Fall/Winter 1983). 99 pp.

Includes studies on Glassco’s poetry, fiction and translations by J. Burnett, E. Jewinski, M. Darling, C.R. La Bossiere, S. Scobie, T. Tausky and poetic tribute by R. Gustafson.

Collins, Alexandra. “An Audience In Mind When I Speak: Grove’s In Search of Myself.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:2 (1983), 181-193.

Collins analyzes Grove’s placement of himself as microcosm at the centre of his times in the autobiographical In Search of Myself (1946), inventing and reshaping his persona through exploration of “the sources of personal failure" — which focusses centrally on his search for a sustaining audience.

Djwa, Sandra, and R. St. J. Macdonald, eds. On F.R. Scott: Essays on His Contributions to Law, Literature, and Politics. Kingston; Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1983. xxii, 203 pp.

Papers presented at a conference held at Simon Fraser University, 20-21 February 1981, including examinations of Scott’s poetry by L. Dudek, D.G. Jones and F.W. Watt.

Downes, G.V. “Robert Finch and the Temptation of Form.” Canadian Literature, no. 97 (Summer 1983), 26-33.

Finch’s recent collection, Variations and Theme (1980), is “rescued” from critics who fail to see it as part of the poet’s “total vision” in a coherent public/private interaction of experience equated to more substantial intellectual strains in poetry and its sister arts.

Dragland, Stan, ed. Approaches to the Work of James Reaney. Downsview: ECW Press, 1983. 235 pp.

Encompasses discussion of Reaney’s poetry and drama and includes essays by G. Bowering, T. Griggs, R. Stingle, J. Macpherson, C. Browne, P. Ludwick, J. McKay, G.D. Parker, D. Bessai and S. Dragland. Also published as Essays on Canadian Writing, nos. 24/25 (Winter/Spring 1982-83).

Edwards, Peter. “Politics and Poetry: An Interview with Earle Birney.” Queen’s Quarterly, 90:1 (Spring 1983), 122-131.

Gustafson, Ralph. “The Story of the Penguin.” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983), 71-76.

Gustafson discusses the creation and evolution of the Pelican Anthology of Canadian Poetry /Penguin Book of Canadian Verse (noting implications of the title change) in terms of his own role as editor and the influence of the collection in propagating a canon and image of Canadian poetry.

Haverluck, Bob. “ ‘Can Any Good Thing Come from Nazareth?’: Comedy in the Prairie Hinterland.” Journal of Canadian Studies, 18:2 (Summer 1983), 27-41.

Discusses comedy in the work of Paul Hiebert as a factor of the “sense of shame” derived from the urban-rural dynamic of a “superior” colonial attitude versus a submissive hinterland consciousness, often finally resting in stereotypes.

Johnston, George. “Rhythm, A Few General Observations.” Journal of Canadian Poetry, 3:2 (Winter 1981), 5-13.

Briefly discusses Purdy, Page, Pratt, Birney, and others in terms of their use of “rhythmic patterns.”

Kearns, Lionel. “Birney’s Bear.” Canadian Literature, no. 97 (Summer 1983), 172-175.

Kearns delineates his own response to “Bear on the Delhi Road” through the key provided by anthropologist Robin Ridington’s studies of animal myths among the Athabascan Indians. Here, man’s relationship to the external world is stabilized in triumphal domestication of the bear, but this in turn functions as a parody of technological competence.

Lecker, Robert, and Jack David, eds. The Annotated Bibliography of Canada’s Major Authors, vol. 4. Downsview: ECW Press,1983. 370 pp.

Comprises comprehensive annotated bibliographies of primary and secondary materials, through 31 December 1981, for Birney (P. Noel-Bentley), Livesay (A. Ricketts), F.R. Scott (R. Still) and Smith (A. Burke and E. Quigley).

Meyer, Bruce, and Brian O’Riordan. “Horses, Buggies and Cadillacs: A Conversation with James Reaney.” Descant, no. 42 (14:4) (Fall 1983), 37-47.

_____.  “Raymond Souster: The Quiet Chronicler.” [Interview] Waves, 11:4 (Spring 1983), 5-12.

Moyles, R.G. “The ‘Blue Pencil’ Revisions of E.J. Pratt: Editorial Procedures for Modern Canadian Texts.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 27 (Winter 1983-84), 55-69.

Moyles argues for the application of “close textual analysis” techniques to the work of Pratt, demonstrating his thesis through discussion of specific poems. Pratt’s methods and processes are explored through the course of revisions and possible “editorial interference.”

Pfaff, Catherine McKinnon. “Pratt’s Treatment of History in ‘Towards the Last Spike.’” Canadian Literature, no. 97 (Summer 1983), 48-72.

Pfaff traces Pratt’s careful documentation and research in preparation of “Towards the Last Spike” through detailed examination of notebooks, contemporary histories, and reminiscences, correlating these with drafts of the poem itself. The energy of the poem, Pfaff suggests, lies in the selection and dramatization of key characters and incidents, orchestration of structural parallelism, and musical influences upon the conception of the whole which ultimately integrate its various elements.

Pollock, Zailig. “A Source for A.M. Klein’s ‘Out of the Pulver and the Polished Lens.’” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983),34-39.

Pollock’s discovery of markings and annotations in Joseph Ratner’s edition of The Philosophy of Spinoza . . . (1927) in Klein’s library establishes the editor’s introductory essays as the primary source for “Out of the Pulver and the Polished Lens.”

Pratt, Edwin John. E.J. Pratt on His Life and Poetry. Ed. Susan Gingell. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983. (The Collected Works of E.J. Pratt) xlix, 218 pp.

Precosky, Don. “‘Back to the Woods Ye Muse of Canada’: Conservative Response to the Beginnings of Modernism.” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983), 40-45.

Discusses endemic Canadian reaction to Yeatsian/Eliotic modernism in its attempt to ensure solid national identity against the onslaught of deconstructive forms.

[Robertson, Heather]. “Q&Q Interview: Dorothy Livesay.” Quill & Quire, 49:3 (March 1983), 4, 6.

Ross, Catherine. “An Interview with James Reaney.” Canadian Children’s Literature, no. 29 (1983), 4-24.

Stott, Dorothy.  “Robin Skelton — An Important Voice in Our Time.” [Interview] Waves, 12:1 (Fall 1983), 5-19.

Stromberg-Stein, Susan. Louis Dudek: A Biographical Introduction to His Poetry. Ottawa: Golden Dog Press, 1983. 150 pp.

Sullivan, Rosemary. “Northrop Frye: Canadian Mythographer.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 18:1 (1983), [1]-13.

Sullivan points to students of Frye — Reaney, Atwood, Macpherson, Lee — as exemplars of his critical elucidation of self-conscious nationalism, patterns and structures in a unique cultural “grammar of motifs.” Sullivan traces Frye’s anatomy of signs through the works of his ostensible disciples to sustain “the inevitable tone of an egocentric consciousness locked into a demythological environment” which Frye maintains as the distinctly Canadian temperament.

Varma, Prem. “Notes on Imagery in Stead’s Poetry.” Journal of Canadian Poetry, 3:2 (Winter 1981), 63-66.

Brief discussion of various poems in Kitchener and Other Poems (1917) in terms of imagery and Jungian symbolism.

York, Lorraine M. “‘A Thankful Music’: Dorothy Livesay’s Experiments with Feeling and Poetic Form.” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983), 13-23.

York stresses a “symbiosis of feeling and form” in the emotional energy of Livesay’s poetry, illuminating the creative tension of freedom and constraint, or spontaneity encased in structure, that leads to the embodiment of sensitivity in formal rhetorical structures.


Amprimoz, Alexandre L. “Death in C.H. Gervais’ Poetry.” CV II, 7:3 (September 1983), 9-10.

Hints at themes of “significance” in Gervais’ Into a Blue Morning (1982), suggesting that the poet reaches toward importance in his figuring of death as an absolute within otherwise conventional settings.

Aubert, Rosemary. “Tradition Meets Technology.” Canadian Author & Bookman, 58:4 (Summer 1983), 6-7.

Describes the orientation and major figures in the development of Coach House as a publisher of poetry and prose and as a printer.

Baltensperger, Peter. “Places In Time: Poetry of Historical Roots.” CV II, 7:3 (September 1983), 50-52.

A discussion of “regionalism” in Canadian poetry, fixing particularly on the London/Lambton County focal points of Christopher Dewdney (A Palaeozoic Geology of London, Ontario, 1973) and Don Gutteridge (A True History of Lambton County, 1977) and the Saskatchewan of Eli Mandel’s Out of Place (1977).

Bartley, Jan. Invocations: The Poetry and Prose of Gwendolyn MacEwen. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1983. ix, 113 pp.

Billings, Robert. “Discovering the Sizes of the Heart: The Poems of Mary Di Michele.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 27 (Winter 1983-84), 95-115.

A critical tracing of Di Michele’s poetic development from Trees of August (1978) through Bread and Chocolate (1980) to There’s Sky Above My Sky (1981) and Mimosa and OtherPoems (1981), suggesting that the author finds her subjects in a confrontation with her own ethnic background as a determinant of identity rather than a stigma to be escaped. She confronts herself through an exploration of her own heritage, becoming progressively more open, direct and “muscular and tough” as she writes herself free of personal constrictions.

A Brief Official History of Turnstone Press 1976-81.” Grain, 11:1 (February 1983), 48.

Discusses the development of the Winnipeg-based Press and its expansion from regionalist poetry to a wider publication list.

Bruck, Julie. “The Work of Helene Rosenthal.” CV II, 7:3 (September 1983), 4-5.

Essentially a retrospective review of Rosenthal’s collection, Listen to the Old Mother: Poems Selected and New (1975), in which the poems are cited for their strong imagistic qualities and immediacy of sensation.

Bukowski, Charles. The Bukowski/Purdy Letters: A Decade of Dialogue 1964-1974. Ed. Seamus Cooney. Sutton West, Ont.; Santa Barbara, Ca.: Paget Press, 1983. 117 pp.

Chamberlin, J.E.  “Let There Be Commerce Between Us: The Poetry of Michael Ondaatje.” Descant, no. 42 (14:4) (Fall 1983), 89-98.

Chamberlin suggests that Ondaatje initially masks his connection with Romantic tradition by a focus derived from Henry Maine upon the “social contract” of poems delivered by a poetic speaker, suggesting finally that the interaction occurs in a “tonal collage,” in which personal observations are integrated with a larger cultural context to provide the central thematic impulses of major poetical and fictional works.

Clark, Joan. “A Conversation with Chris Wiseman.” CV II, 7:2 (April 1983), 9-13.

Collins, Aileen, ed. CIV /n: A Literary Magazine of the 50’s. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1983. 267 pp.

Retrospective reissue of CIV /n documenting the contribution of the Montreal journal to the Canadian literary landscape of the early 1950s as well as reprinting seminal works by Layton, Dudek, Collins, F.R. Scott, Cohen, Webb, Mandel, D.G. Jones, etc.

Cooper, Alan. “‘Way Back the Woods Are Wine-Dark’ — The Poetry of John Thompson.” Arts Atlantic, no. 17 (5:1) (Summer 1983), 38-39.

Article seeks a fuller appreciation of Thompson by building from the drama of his untimely death to the fuller dimensions of poetry which integrate the poet with a New Brunswick landscape but also expand into Eastern philosophy which inspired his later work.

Cowan, Judith. “La Poesie de Pat Lowther.” Ellipse, 31 (1983), 86-93.

Cowan places strong emphasis on a correlation between Lowther’s art and experience, suggesting early equations of artistic creation and procreation yield finally to the influence of Neruda and an image of Latin America which enable the poet to emerge from an enclosing interiority.

Davey, Frank.  Notes on the Language of the Contemporary Canadian Long Poem: As Presented to the Simon Fraser University Weekend Conference /Festival, “The Coast Is Only a Line,” July 25, 1981. Lantzville, B.C.: Island Writing Series, 1983. 22 pp.

See also the article in his Surviving the Paraphrase: Eleven Essays on Canadian Literature (Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1983), 183-193.

Dedora, Brian. “John Curry’s CURVD H & Z.” CV II, 7:3 (September 1983), 11-12.

Reviews Curry’s recent work by relating it to the tradition of the Grub Street pamphleteers, suggesting that this 18th century sense of contemporaneity may be the final value of Curry’s poems.

Dragland, Stan. “Christopher Dewdney’s Writing: Beyond Science and Madness.” Malahat Review, no. 66 (October 1983), 36-54.

In this essay, drawn from his “Afterword” to Predators of the Adoration: Selected Poems 1972-82 (1983), Dragland maps the contours of Dewdney’s work, suggesting that an early interest in natural history shaped the poetry in important ways. The correlation of space and time implicit in geology makes that science a valuable metaphor in that the successive books create an accumulating landscape, with linguistic and ideational interconnections and a near-geological layering achieved through gaps, parenthetical insertions and expansions, and strata of reference in human — and larger — contexts.

Dunham, Rob. “A Sentence Like a Snake: A Dialogue with E.D. Blodgett.” CV II, 7:2 (April 1983), 27-32.

Eady, Robert. “‘An Unmanipulated Sorrow’: The Poetry of Leona Gom.” Arc, no. 10 (Fall 1983), 16-23.

Presents and comments upon selected poems from Gom’s The Singletree (1975) and Land of the Peace (1980).

Enright, Robert. “The Poetry of Knowledge & Flesh: An Interview with George Amabile.” Arts Manitoba, 2:3 (Summer 1983), 29-32.

Fagan, Cary. “The Death of a Little Magazine.” Poetry Canada Review, 4:4 (Summer 1983), 6.

Chronicles the course of Harvest magazine from 1977-1982, discussing editorial objectives, disappointments, and the final adjustments in editorial scope before Harvest’s demise.

Grace, Sherrill E., and Lorraine Weir, eds. Margaret Atwood: Language, Text, and System. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1983. x, 158 pp.

Comprised of essays by the co-editors, L. Hutcheon, B. Blakely, E. Mandel, R. Cluett, M-F. Guedon, P. Stratford and G. Woodcock.

Groening, Laura. “The Journals of Susanna Moodie: A Twentieth-Century Look at a Nineteenth-Century Life.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:2 (1983), 166-180

Groening suggests that Atwood’s encounter with Moodie’s personality in the original documents produced a vibrant and complex character in The Journals who reflected larger Canadian cultural ambivalences, though many of these dimensions appear superimposed by an age of self-conscious, psychological and critical analysis.

Hilderley, Bob, ed. “Poetics.” Quarry, 32:4 (Autumn 1983), 59-85.

Excerpts from statements on poetics delivered at the Upper Canada Writers’ Workshop in Kingston, Summer 1982, by D. Wynand, B. Edwards, C.A. Swaskey, H. Bouraoui, S.D. Harasym, D. Barbour, T. Marshall, R. Borson, T. Byrnes, A.L. Amprimoz, B.L. Flack, E. Moure, G.E. Clarke, R. Nash and B. Dempster.

Hillis, Doris. “CA&B Profile: Shaping a Vision.” Canadian Author & Bookman, 59:1 (Fall 1983), 2-3.

Biographical sketch of Patrick Friesen, concentrating on pressures of his Mennonite background and influence on his art.

Kareda, Urjo. “An Immigrant’s Song.” Saturday Night, 98:12 (December 1983), 44-51.

Physical and emotional landscapes of Ondaatje’s youth are correlated by way of developing a “geography of the past” as a determinant of identity. Colonial alienation as a facet of the Ceylon experience yields to a landscape of friendship and personal rebirth in the author’s transplantation to Canada.

Keitner, Wendy. “Looking for Owls: The Quest Motif in Tom Wayman’s Poetry.” Canadian Poetry, no. 12 (Spring/Summer 1983), 24-33.

A retrospective look at Wayman’s ten years of publication, moving from “the country of everyday” to an increasingly complex tension between the social realism of “work poems” and the effete self-absorption of “poems about art.” Wayman’s Marxist basis finally appears rather hazy, as a personal search usurps the social quest, though preserving much of its imagery.

Kroetsch, Robert. Essays. Eds. Frank Davey and bp Nichol. Open Letter, ser. 5, no. 4 (Spring 1983). 124 pp.

A collection of essays written during the period 1971-1982, covering aspects of Canadian/American culture and literature. Kroetsch provides background for his own work, both fiction and poetry, and discusses such phenomena as the contemporary Canadian long poem.

MacDonald, R.D. “Lee’s ‘Civil Elegies’ in Relation to Grant’s Lament for a Nation.” Canadian Literature, no. 98 (Autumn 1983), 10-30.

In this critical analysis, MacDonald portrays Lee’s long poem “Civil Elegies” (1972) as a work perhaps excessively controlled by the cultural resentments of its era. In adopting the Grant formula of Canadian homogenization through American (media) influence as the poem’s theoretical base, Lee fails to examine sufficiently the deeper intellectual history of the two North American societies and often lapses too easily into caricature.

Melnyk, George. “Miriam Mandel: The Poet and Her Publishers.” CV II, 7:2 (April 1983), 40.

A reminiscence by the publisher of NeWest Press which essentially becomes a tribute to Mandel, who committed suicide in February 1982.

Owens, Judith. “‘I Send You a Picture’: Ondaatje’s Portrait of Billy the Kid.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:1 (1983), 117-139.

Owens suggests Billy’s “work” is to establish patterns of order amidst a world of shift and flux. He seeks the tidiness of lists (even of victims in the stasis of death), an absolute measurement of time, and a story which will anchor itself in absolutes. This is nearly transcended in Billy’s own energy of perception, which enlivens his world but can never wholly furnish an escape from time, change and mortality, which the calendar emphasizes as ultimately finite.

PCR Interview with Gwendolyn MacEwen.”  Poetry Canada Review, 4:3 (Spring 1983), 8.

PCR Interview with Irving Layton.” Poetry Canada Review, 4:4 (Summer 1983), 8-9.

Purdy, Al. Morning and It’s Summer: A Memoir. Dunvegan, Ont.: Quadrant Editions, 1983. 53 pp.

Autobiographical essay (pp. 9-28) followed by a selection of Purdy’s poetry.

Reid, Monty. “Interview with Charles Noble: Riding on Top of It.” NeWest Review, 9:2 (October 1983), 22-24.

_____.  “Interview with Poet Robert Hilles.” NeWest Review, 8:7 [i.e. 8] (April 1983), 6-7.

Relke, Diana M.A. “Double Voice, Single Vision: A Feminist Reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Journals of Susanna Moodie.” Atlantis, 9:1 (Fall 1983), 35-48.

Relke extends the convention of a “contemporized” Moodie by suggesting that dualities go beyond the nature/culture encounter with landscape to an essential feminine disenfranchisement from male social conventions and language structures. Atwood illuminates this entrapment, Relke notes, by stressing alienation, emptiness and absence through crafted gaps and flatnesses in the poems themselves. Finally, Moodie becomes a psychic precursor for Atwood, embodying the image of feminine energies which engages poet with subject.

Ricou, Laurie. “Prairie Poetry and Metaphors of Plain/s Space.” Great Plains Quarterly, 3:2 (Spring 1983), 109-119.

Ricou examines various metaphors for the plains (sea, wind, sky, line, snow, light), finding a landscape of space which becomes finally invisible and intangible though determinant. Comparing Edward Dorn’s “Idaho Out” with Robert Kroetsch’s “Seed Catalogue,” the article suggests that in the latter, “place is no longer the subject,” having yielded to an exploration of the process of metaphor itself.

Scobie, Stephen. “Gadji Beri Bimba: The Problem of Abstraction in Poetry.” Canadian Literature, no. 97 (Summer 1983), 75-92.

A lengthy discussion of Scobie’s poetics with particular regard to the concept of abstraction, figured in correlatives with the visual arts, as Scobie draws distinctions between topical and syntactical abstraction of poems which “hover on the edges of meaning.” Abstraction’s extension into sound poetry (or “text-sound") still, through notation, attaches meaning to performance and guarantees the presence of language.

Smith, Patricia Keeney. “WQ Interview with Gwendolyn MacEwen.” Cross-Canada Writers’ Quarterly, 5:1 (1983), 14-17.

Solecki, Sam. “Michael Ondaatje.” Descant, no. 42 (14:4) (Fall 1983),77-88.

A “free form” discussion of Running in the Family (1982) as it relates to — and presses readers toward — earlier Ondaatje texts, linking this personal reminiscence with the poetic imagination of a tradition embracing, most centrally, Wallace Stevens and Leonard Cohen as well as Ondautje’s own earlier Billy the Kid and Coming Through Slaughter.

Thompson, Lee Briscoe. “Lands Without Ghosts: Canadian and Australian Historical Poetry.” In The History and Historiography of Commonwealth Literature. Ed. Dieter Riemenschneider. Tubingen: Gunter Narr, 1983, [165]-175.

A correlation of Australian and Canadian poetry as response to equally arid “outbacks,” confirming echoes of isolation and barrenness of landscape and a defining past of colonial Englishness. Includes discussion of Birney, Atwood, Purdy, Ondaatje, Kroetsch, and others.

Thoughts of Chairman Al. [Al Purdy Talks to Arc about Pressures, Books, Readings, &c.]” Arc, nos. 8-9 (Spring/Summer 1983), 78-84.

Edited from interview with Arc, November 1981.

Wachtel, Eleanor. “Intimations of Mortality. [The Splendid Isolation of Phyllis Webb.]” Books in Canada, 12:9 (November 1983), 8-9, 11-15.

A conversational interview leads to acknowledgement of Webb’s basic themes of exterior/interior landscapes and personal deliberations upon influences ranging from Rilke and the European philosophers to Emily Dickinson and a Northern American masculine-feminine poetic tension.

Wayman, Tom. Inside Job: Essays on the New Work Writing. Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 1983. 101 pp.

Wayman, long associated with commentary — and poetry — on art in the workplace, presents this collection of essays stressing correlative aspects of occupational and artistic creativity, bringing these from politically-oriented works of the “socialist 30’s” to the complex technological impersonalization-exploitation of modern industrial labour in which the individual worker may realize his uniqueness through personal artistry focussing on “the job.”

Webb, Phyllis. Talking. Dunvegan, Ont.: Quadrant Editions, 1982. 153 pp.

Includes poetry, discussions on poetic process, and essays on writers and writing (some delivered as CBC radio talks).

Wineapple, Brenda.  “Margaret Atwood’s Poetry: Against Still Life.” Dalhousie Review, 62:2 (Summer 1982), [212]-222.

Explores the variety of “voices” in Atwood’s poetry, ranging from the innocent to the aggressive, in a divided response to the feminine sense of social enclosure. The question of female identities is superimposed upon a mythos of cultural identity to suggest a uniquely Canadian correspondence between a personal and social struggle for recognition.

Zezulka, Joseph M. “Patrick Lane and the Question of Authority.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:2 (1983), 248-267

Lane’s work is discussed in its period, the self-exploratory/revelatory ’60s and ’70s, searching for an individualistic “outlaw” mentality. Zezulka sifts for far more serious questions of order and chaos, with the modernistic absolute of language called into question but occasionally rescued in the “grammar of hypothesis” and the “realized image of the frozen moment.”

Zieroth, Dale. “Reclaiming the Body/Reclaiming the Nation: A Process of Surviving Colonization in Dennis Lee’s Civil Elegies and Other Poems.” Canadian Literature, no. 98 (Autumn 1983), 35-43.

Zieroth stresses immediacy of perception in Lee’s poetry as the imagination “becomes at home in its own body,” breaking down the psychological-physiological dichotomy with political implications for the Canadian “world outside.”


Bentley, D.M.R. “The Mower and the Boneless Acrobat: Notes on the Stances of Baseland and Hinterland in Canadian Poetry.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8:1 (1983), 5-48.

Bentley augments his “topocentric” studies on the ecology of Canadian poetry by proposing an antithesis of baseland/hinterland cultures manifesting themselves in two distinct artistic orientations. Oppositions of historicity and structure/openness and spontaneity suggest East/West and urban/rural dimensions (and Apollonian/Dionysian), and Bentley traces the influences of Tennysonian Englishness in the 1880s until its collision with the ardency of the 1940s which produced a traditional/experimental battle which continues today. Central to the distinction is response to landscape — (hostile, barren terrain to be subdued/vast oceanic expanse of possibility) — and central figures (personages of domestic order and settlement/explorers, vagabonds) which characterize each stance. These are, Bentley stresses, temperaments rather than categories and are often seen as dual impulses within a single poetic imagination as well as within the larger cultural consciousness.

Davey, Frank. Surviving the Paraphrase: Eleven Essays on Canadian Literature. Preface by Eli Mandel. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1983. iv, 193 pp.

These essays, divided between poetry and fiction, confront the poetry of Pratt, MacEwen and Atwood, providing also an encounter with “the language of the contemporary Canadian long poem,” and “the explorer in Western Canadian literature” as illuminated in the works of Birney, Bowering, Marlatt, and others.

Deahl, James, and Terry Barker. “New Canada or True North.” CVII, 7:3 (September 1983), 33-36.

A cultural stock-taking which attempts to define Canadian Northern uniqueness in opposition to an American-derived Southern mythology.

Johnston, George. “Diction in Poetry.” Canadian Literature, no. 97 (Summer 1983), 39-44.

To illustrate the central role of “diction” and vocabulary structures in poetry, Johnston draws examples from Souster’s “A Shadow” (direct statement), Finch’s “This Rose You Gave Me” (the significant borrowing), Ondaatje’s “Henri Rousseau and Friends” (balanced tensions) and Atwood’s “He Reappears” (cultish specificity).

Lever, Bernice, ed. “Regionalism and Internationalism.” Waves, 11:2/3 (Winter 1983), 37-46.

Statements on the influence and importance of regionalism and internationalism by Brewster, Callaghan, Cogswell, Dempster, Livesay, Marshall, Priest, Rosenblatt, Skelton, Sorestad and Stevens. Introduction by R. Billings.

Moisan, Clément. A Poetry of Frontiers: Comparative Studies in Quebec/Canadian Literature. [Translated by George Lang and Linda Weber] Victoria; Toronto: Press Porcepic, 1983. (Three Solitudes, Contemporary Literary Criticism in Canada, 5) xi, 219 pp.

Translation of Poésie des frontières, 1979. Pairing sets of Quebecois and English-Canadian poets, Moisan attempts to draw correlations in theme setting out categories of poetry of “clandestiny,” “resistance,” “liberation” and “the brilliant minority.” Among English-Canadian poets considered are: Birney, Glassco, Page, Avison, Layton, Souster, Newlove, Atwood, MacEwen, bissett, Nichol, and others.

Toye, William, general ed.  The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Toronto; Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. xviii, 843 pp.

Encompasses both English- and French-Canadian writing, also “entries on writers who settled in Canada in their maturity or, though not permanent residents, have strong Canadian ties.”

Woodcock, George. “Queen’s Quarterly and Canadian Culture.” Queen’s Quarterly, 90:3 (Autumn 1983), 609-622.

Woodcock trumpets the role of Queen’s Quarterly in Canadian culture, chronicling its function since 1893 in publishing and promoting literary excellence. The article incants a list of contributors ranging from D.C. Scott, Pratt, Roberts and Campbell to Smith, Waddington, Livesay and Birney, moving into contemporary critical and creative contributors such as Atwood, Macpherson, Reaney, Webb, Layton, and others — all this by way of demonstrating the central place of Queen’s Quarterly in the advancement and propagation of a Canadian literary consciousness.

Mary Ann Jameson