|The Year's Work in Canadian
Poetry Studies: 1985
In the following bibliography of
criticism on English-Canadian poetry published in 1985, 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
The annotated checklists of the Year's Work in Canadian Poetry Studies for 1976, 1977,
1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984 can be found in nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14
and 16 of Canadian Poetry.
Bentley, D.M.R. "'From
the Hollow, Blasted Pine': Centrifugal Tendencies in Adam Kidd's The Huron Chief."
ser. 6, nos. 2/3 (Summer/Fall 1985), 233-256.
Language and form frequently betray Kidd in his rebellion
against the centres of Canada's colonial culture.
Arguing that Kidd and his poem exhibit a
centrifugal rebellion against early Canadian high culture, Bentley suggests that The
Huron Chief (1830) anticipates post-modern tendencies in various ways such as its
polyphony, its rough style and its respect for reality and for the Native peoples.
Davies, Gwendolyn. "'Good Taste and Sound Sense':
Nova-Scotia Magazine (1789-92)."
Essays on Canadian
Writing, no. 31
(Summer 1985), 5-22.
Founded by William Cochran, a
former classicist at Columbia University, and printer John Howe, The Nova-Scotia
Magazine was sustained by transplanted Loyalists who sought to "elevate and
improve" through a periodical miscellany drawing upon English and indigenous sources.
In addition to providing a forum for early regional poetry, The Nova-Scotia
Magazine becomes valuable for the view it offers of 18th Century Maritime social
structures and mores.
Goldsmith, Oliver. Autobiography of Oliver
in Canada's Literary History, 2nd ed. Edited by
Wilfrid E. Myatt;
with foreword by Phyllis R. Blakely.
Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot Press, 1985. 174 pp.
MacDonald, Mary Lu. "Three Early Canadian
no. 17 (Fall/Winter 1985), 79-91.
After brief biographical accounts
of John Howard Willis, William F. Hawley and John Hawkins Hagarty, "the best-known
Canadian poets of the 1825-45 period," MacDonald provides bibliographies of their
Vincent, Thomas B. "Eighteenth-Century Maritime
on Canadian Writing,
no. 31 (Summer 1985), 23-34.
Vincent maintains that the
condemnation as "derivative" might better be seen as the 18th Century virtue of
"imitation," as colonial poets attempted to preserve links with their cultural
tradition. Poetry reflected social evolution, as the precariously moralistic and
"orderly" Pre-Loyalist period (1750-1780) yielded to a more urbane and
cosmopolitan Loyalist interlude (1780-mid 1790s) before the sense of impending change
reflected in the century's "Twilight" (mid 1790s- 1815), all corresponding to a
movement from concern with social values toward the primacy of individual perception.
Arnold, Richard. "'Thoughts Grow Keen and
Clear': A Look at
Studies in Canadian Literature,
10:1/2 (1985), 170-176.
Lampman's shift from Emersonian
idealization of man in nature to a less Transcendental view of his relationship to the
natural world is traced through examination of revisions to "Vision" (1892) as
it expanded into "Winter-Store" (1895) and the two versions of "Peccavi
Bentley, D.M.R. "Alchemical Transmutation in
Scott's 'At Gull Lake: August, 1810' and
Speculations." Studies in
Canadian Literature, 10:1/2 (1985),
"Threefold in Wonder: Bliss Carman's Sappho:
A possible allusion to the magnum
opus of the alchemists leads Bentley beyond a reading of "At Gull Lake" in
terms of the purification and transcendence of Keejigo into speculations about Scott's
indebedness to the hermetic tradition. A possible source of Scott's knowledge of that
tradition is the work of Henry Vaughan and his alchemist brother, Thomas Vaughan.
One Hundred Lyrics." Canadian
Poetry, no. 17
(Fall/Winter 1985), 29-58.
Carman's Unitrinian philosophy and conception of love are shown to be behind a
volume that occupies an influential position between Victorianism and Modernism.
"A Well-Wrought Clay: Francis Sherman's 'In
Seeking to demonstrate that Sappho
is more coherent and metaphysical than previously recognized, Bentley reveals the
presence in the sequence of a covert plot involving Sappho's relationships with male and
female lovers and with the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Memorabilia Mortis.'" Essays on
Canadian Writing, no. 30
(Winter 1984-85), 320-338.
A discussion of Sherman's elegy
on the death of William Morris, which Bentley regards as Sherman's masterpiece, the
article provides an analysis of the handling of form, imagery and diction in the sonnet
sequence, and the relation of the sequence to the work of Morris and D.G. Rossetti.
Burns, Robert Alan. "Isabella Valancy Crawford's
Technique." Studies in Canadian
Literature, 10:1/2 (1985),
Crawford's poetry chronologically, Burns seeks to demon strate that it results from
learned and perfected craftsmanship rather than naïve native genius. Citation of early English and French
lyric models, the North American rural dialect conventions, blank verse and dramatic
monologue forms suggest that Crawford's "modernist" tone is the product of
attention to tradition, especially that of Donne and the metaphysicals.
Doyle, James. "Archibald Lampman and Hamlin
Canadian Poetry, no.
16 (Spring/Summer 1985), 38-46.
This chronicle of a ten-year
correspondence demonstrates Lampman's appeal to a widely-divergent temperament, although
both the Canadian romantic lyricist and the American regional realist saw themselves as
authentic rural voices. "To Chicago" (1893) is cited as Lampman's interesting
attempt to write topically for an American audience.
"The Confederation Poets and American Publishers."
Canadian Poetry, no. 17 (Fall/Winter 1985),
The usually frustrating and
disappointing experiences of Campbell, Lampman, Scott, Carman, Roberts and E.W. Thomson
with various American publishers are discussed.
Large, F. Ross. "John Frederic Herbin: A
Canadian Poetry, no. 16
(Spring/Summer 1985), 21-37.
Large attempts to stimulate
interest in this neglected Acadian poet by suggesting that his Marshlands (1893),
later integrated with the Trail of the Tide (1899), demonstrates the growth of an
imagination which ultimately finds a harmony between speaker and external world through a
progressively wider embrace of land and sea images.
August. "Charles G.D. Roberts: Mystical Poet."
Edited by Laurel Boone with Dorothy Roberts
Studies in Canadian Literature, 9:2 (1984), 267-295.
In this edited version of a
mid-30s study, Leisner traces Roberts' "mystical" elements from the earliest
teenage poetry to the final image of "The Iceberg" governed by fate in a
deterministic universe. Roberts was, Leisner suggests, a fusion of "impassioned titan and
celestial child," finding the passion of his art and life in the energy generated by
conflict between desire and fate. Appended to the essay are letters from Roberts attesting
to the validity of its insights and from Pelham Edgar regarding its acceptability as
graduate thesis work at the University of Toronto.
McCabe, Kevin. "Lucy Maud Montgomery:
and the Poet." Canadian Children's Literature,
McCabe documents Montgomery's
lifelong commitment to poetry as a vessel for personal feeling and a measure of genuine
sensibility through its "higher calling." Though overshadowed by her prose and
often seemingly mechanical, Montgomery's verse was central to her own self-definition.
Miller, Muriel. Bliss Carman: Quest & Revolt.
Jesperson Press, 1985. xv, [xii], 304 pp.
John F. In Flanders Fields: The Story of John
McCrae. Erin, Ont.: Boston Mills Press,
1985. 144 pp.
"Robert W(illiam) Service,
and James E. Person, Jr.,
eds., Twentieth-Century Literary
Criticism, vol. 15. Detroit: Gale Research, c1985, 397-414.
Biographical sketch with excerpts
from commentary and criticism on Service published 1909-1979.
Roberts, Charles G.D. The Collected Poems of Sir Charles
Roberts: A Critical
Edition. Edited by Desmond
Pacey. Wolfville, N.S.: Wombat Press, c1985. xxxii, 672 pp.
Includes collation and annotation
of previously unpublished poems, drafts and revisions, publishing history, indexes and
Malcolm. "Bliss Carman and the Poetry of Mystery:
Defense of the
Personal Fallacy." In Malcolm Ross,
Fred Cogswell and Marguerite Maillet, The
Lectures on New Brunswick Literature.
Centre for Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University,
c1985 (The Winthrop Pickard Bell Lectures in
Studies, 3), -31.
Ross chronicles his youthful
infatuation with Carman and documents the sustained attraction the poetry still holds for
him by drawing attention to the intense transcendentalism of Carman's earlier works. The tension between unfathomable essences of eternal
present and acknowledged mortality creates an element of metaphysical mystery largely lost
in the more serene "poetry of thought" following Behind the Arras (1895).
Skretkowicz, Victor. "Where Isabella Valency [sic]
Died." Studies in Canadian Literature,
Skretkowicz traces the history of
the property at King and John Streets in Toronto and reaffirms Crawford's close
association with its owners, the Stuarts, through his discovery of an inscribed presenta
tion copy of Old Spookses' Pass (1884).
Twigg, Alan. Hubert Evans: The First
Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour
Publishing, 1985. 154
Includes discussion (chapter 7)
of Evans' poetry, pp. 95-101.
Ware, Martin. "Theodore Goodridge Roberts,
Neglected Voice." Essays on Canadian Writing,
(Summer 1985), 75-92.
Through examination of the range
of poems contained in The Leather Bottle (1934), from a Pre-Raphaelite-like
medieval idealism reflective of Malory to a powerful sense of place in poems of nature to
a record of experiences in the Great War, Ware seeks to rescue the younger brother of
Charles G.D. Roberts from undeserved obscurity. His work is significant, Ware maintains,
not only for its regional focus but because of its warm and fully human quality.
Warkentin, Germaine. "The Problem of Crawford's
Canadian Literature, no. 107
(Winter 1985), 20-32.
Warkentin suggests that
Crawford's often-inflated Tennysonian manner is a public rhetorical stance closer to
oratory than mythmaking, and that when it is most effective it gives her work a resonance
and poetic authority which amplify meaning beyond the scenes actually described.
Abraham. "Alienation and Response: The Multi-
Heritage of Miriam Waddington." NeWest
(April 1985), 17-18.
Waddington's roots in Jewish,
Russian and Canadian cultures create range and richness in her works. Arnold points to education and family background as influences upon
the secular/religious dynamics of her Jewishness, which lies at the centre of much of her
work and fuses in the Yiddish translations, and the pervasive presence of an imagined
Manitoba landscape drawn from her youth in Winnipeg.
Benazon, Michael. "Leo Kennedy: Reticent
no. 20 (Spring 1985),
Benazon suggests that Kennedy's
obscurity is due in part to his own self-effacement. Tracing his early, often anonymous
and pseudony mous poems in The Montreal Star, McGill Fortnightly Review,
Canadian Mercury and Canadian Forum (and the propagandistic New Frontier of
the 1930s), the article proclaims him an important early modernist through his association
with the McGill poets and in his 1933 collection, The Shrouding.
Richard. "The Nth Adam: Dante in Klein's The Second
Canadian Literature, no. 106 (Fall 1985), 45-53.
sees the pilgrim/poet narrator's quest for a new language in Klein's novel as an image of
the author's own search for a voice which was both new and reflective of a cultural
fusion of respect for antiquity and commitment to the vernacular, his acknow ledgement of
a literary patrimony in Virgil and his own Adamic creation through naming, made him a
model for Klein's own modern journey as fictionally projected in The Second Scroll.
David. "SCL Interviews Fred Cogswell." Studies
in Canadian Literature,
10:1/2 (1985), 208-225.
Richard. Exil, révolte et dissidence: étude comparée
des poésies québécoise
et canadienne (1925-1955).
Québec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 1984. (Vie
québécoises, 23) xvi, 283 pp.
Includes discussion of Klein,
Smith, Pratt, Dudek, Page, Livesay, Layton, F.R. Scott, P. Anderson and L. Kennedy.
Gingell, Susan. "The Newfoundland Context of
the Poetry of
E.J. Pratt." Essays on Canadian Writing, no.
Gingell defines a regional
context for Pratt, vaulting past the romanticised and retrospective visions of
Newfoundland, often incor porated as stock imagery and themes, to a substantial local
presence in "The Ice-Floes" (1922).
Grove, Frederick Philip. "Frederick Philip Grove's 'The
Edited and with an
introduction by Terrence Craig. Canadian
Poetry, no. 16 (Spring/Summer 1985),
Continues Craig's publication of
Grove's "Poems" (cf. Canadian Poetry, no. 10, 1982). Composed
following the death of Grove's daughter in July 1927, "The Dirge" poems were
printed in selected elements in the Canadian Forum, April 1932, and are here correlated with Grove's initial
Jenoff, Marvyne. "Miriam Waddington: An
Waves, 14:1/2 (Fall
Klinck, Carl F. "Henry W. Wells (1895-1978):
with Carl F. Klinck: A Memoir." Canadian
Poetry, no. 17
(Fall/Winter 1985), 68-78.
Klinck recalls his relationship
with the American critic and translator with whom he collaborated on Edwin J.
Pratt: The Man and His
Lecker, Robert, Jack David, and
Ellen Quigley, eds. Canadian
Writers and Their Works: Poetry Series, vol. 5.
Introduced by George Woodcock. Toronto:
1985. 329,  pp.
Critical essays on the form,
context and development of Birney (P. Aichinger), Dudek (T. Goldie), Layton (W. Francis),
Souster (B. Whiteman) and Waddington (P. Stevens).
Levin, Beatrice. "Elizabeth Smart: À
Tête Tête." Cross-
Canada Writers' Quarterly,
7:3/4 (1985), 38-39.
This interview/profile deals
mainly with biographical information, though the role of poetry in Smart's life emerges in
her captivation with George Barker through his poems and her own vision of herself as a
Avrum, Diane Allard, and Maria van Sundert. "Frank
Oliver Call, Eastern
Townships Poetry, and the Modernist
Movement." Canadian Literature, no. 107 (Winter 1985),
The authors discuss Call as a
transitionary figure between the Confederation and Modern periods, describing his role as
a major cultural figure in the Eastern Townships during the first decades of the century.
Of his five volumes of verse, only Acanthus and Wild Grape (1920) has specifically
Modernist stylistic elements, but all reflect the themes of loss, decay and collapse of
values which characterize the movement's response to World War I.
Meyer, Bruce, and Brian
Conversation and Meditation." [Interview] Poetry
Review, 7:1 (Autumn 1985), 8-9.
Mezei, Kathy. "A Bridge of Sorts":
The Translation of
Quebec Literature into English." Yearbook
Studies, 17 (1985), -226.
the periodic approach and withdrawal between English- and French-Canadian literature,
suggesting particularly that the translations of F.R. Scott, Dudek, Jones, Glassco and
some of the Ellipse circle were, in fact, educative in focussing those poets'
concerns back onto their own styles, themes and techniques.
Don. "Reassessing Other Canadians." CV II,
8:4 (February 1985), 25-27.
reassessment reveals that the 1946 anthology only occasionally transcends the partisanship
of John Sutherland's intro duction. The First Statement vs. Preview battle
is documented, with Precosky viewing Other Canadians as a response to the 1943 Book
of Canadian Poetry, in which A.J.M. Smith differentiated the
"national" and "cosmopolitan."
"A Note on John Glassco." Poetry Canada Review,
7:1 (Autumn 1985), 25.
associates the sardonic pessimism of Glassco with the agony of A.E. Housman and the
doom-saying of Robinson Jeffers, though he finds the Canadian "much more urbane and
wry in his tone and conclusions." The article also contains a discussion of the
selection process for the 1972 Governor General's Award for poetry to Glassco's Selected
Magdalene. "Authority and the Margins of Escape in
Brébeuf and His Brethren." Open
Letter, ser. 6, nos. 2/3
(Summer/Fall 1985), 45-60.
Pratt's poem in a context of critical pluralism, Redekop seeks to test the validity of
various interpretations of it, including her own. Pratt himself sought to achieve a
comic attitude to history in Brébeuf, a fact not unrelated to the World War
II context of the poem.
"The Plot Against Smith." Canadian Literature,
no. 105 (Summer 1985), 111-130.
attempts to save Smith from himself, discovering "the poet in the poems,"
a "human presence" often put off by (1) capricious arrange ment within
collections, (2) pseudonymous publication, (3) unacknow ledged revision, and (4) the
"ways of reading" Smith prescribed. Masquerade and pastiche also served to
distance the poet from his work, though Watt tries to locate Smith through defining his
Venus (the erotic strain) and his youthful, Romantic self. In thrall to Modernism,
Smith finally may have "put by all his beautifully crafted masks so that we can see
"Birthright to the Sea: Some Poems of E.J.
Pratt." In his Studies in
Literature and the Humanities:
Innocence of Intent. Selected
and introduced by Brian
Crick and John Ferns. Kingston; Montreal:
Queen's University Press, 1985, 175-196.
see Pratt's intimacy with the sea as fundamental not only to the Newfoundland poems but to
the "Extravaganzas" such as Brébeuf and His Brethren (1940) and Towards
the Last Spike (1952), as the poet "left the salt water and discovered the
sea." The elemental nature of man's relationship with both the sustenance and
menace of a surrounding ocean provides a sense of epic largeness which resonates through
all Pratt's major work.
"The Beginnings of Modernism (1): Raymond
Knister." Poetry Canada Review,
7:1 (Autumn 1985), 44.
that "Knister's poems comprise one of the first mature bodies of modernist work in
Canada," suggesting that close habits of observation developed during a rural
childhood led the poet naturally to the focal attention of Imagism.
"The Beginnings of Modernism (2): Dorothy
Livesay." Poetry Canada Review,
7:2 (Winter 1985-86), 23.
drawn from Green Pitcher (1928) and Signpost (1932), Whiteman documents
Livesay's early Imagist work as a significant stirring of Modernism in Canadian verse.
"Defining the Tradition." Poetry Canada
Review, 6:4 (Summer 1985), 11.
Spring 1985 article, in which Whiteman discusses submerged masterpieces such as the 1942 Anthology
of Canadian Poetry, edited by Ralph Gustafson, "the first anthology which brought
a modernist intelligence to bear on roughly a hundred years of Canadian poetry."
"W.W.E. Ross: Imagism, Science, Spiritism."
Poetry Canada Review, 6:3 (Spring 1985),
considers Ross' early interest in modernist poetics a key to his transcendence of the
"slush" which dominated the poetry of his period. His embrace of Imagism
seemed to offer a fusion of scientific precision and a surreal vision derived
from his fascination with supernaturalism.
"Interview with Anne Szumigalski."
Waves, 14: 1/2 (Fall 1985), 54-58.
Michael. "Irving Layton and the Montreal Poets."
[Excerpts from interview] Matrix, no.
20 (Spring 1985),
E.D. "After Pierre Berton What? In Search of a
Canadian Literature." Essays on
no. 30 (Winter 1984-85), 60-80.
primarily considering prose fiction, Blodgett qualifies the patterns of exploration and
spatial definition he finds characteristic of Canadian literature by citing the
"anti-discourse" of an often feminine poetic response, as in Webb, Atwood,
Hébert and Brossard. The defining power of articulation, however, is ultimately
demonstrated through discussion of the layered multi-textuality of Kroetsch's Seed
"Liliane Welch: A New Voice from the
Maritimes." Essays on Canadian
Writing, no. 31
(Summer 1985), 240-250.
Drawing from a
sense of historical process afforded by her European heritage, Welch discovers in the
elemental landscape of her adopted region a reflection of internal terrain which makes her
work Faulknerian in its expansion from the local to the universal. Working often
through dramatic monologue, Welch illuminates the paradoxical confinement and liberation
reflected in both the topography and culture of New Brunswick.
Edward Kamau. "Dionne Brand's Winter Epigrams."
Canadian Literature, no. 105 (Summer
citation, Brathwaite discusses Brand's Winter epigrams & Epigrams to Ernesto
Cardenal in defense of Claudia (1983) as a work of formidable political and feminist
engagement, suggesting hers is the "voice of the Caribbean woman poet" and that
her life in Toronto provides a context of northern social comfort against which
third-world issues may be projected.
Robert. "Breathing Through the Feet: An
Autobiographical Meditation." Canadian
no. 105 (Summer 1985), 7-15.
of his rejection of North American social materialism and destructiveness and his
preference for life on the margins of such a system. His poetry, he maintains, is an
effort to "salvage and preserve" a sense of the world based on creative
interaction with nature and with cultures which have embraced it as their vital
source. One must, he avers, "pay attention."
Irving Layton: A Portrait. Toronto:
Cole, Christina. "Daphne Marlatt as Penelope,
Stoddart, 1985. [xiii], 518 pp.
Words: A Feminist Reading of Steveston."
ser. 6, no. 1 (Spring 1985), -19.
Taking as her key
the image of spinning/weaving as a figure for the creative imagination, Cole sees both the
incantatory styles and labyrinthine form of Steveston as a weaving of language.
Marlatt thus suggests Penelope and Ariadne and ultimately embodies Arachne in
spinning the verbal web from out of herself (as a route to roots, self-discovery in the
body of language).
Colette. "Ville et poésie dans les années
60." Études canadiennes/Canadian
Studies, no. 19
(December 1985), 89-104.
traces the traditional images of urban violence and alienation in the 1960s and the growth
of an "underground" of sensibility beneath the impersonal, mechanistic
cityscape. More recently, however, the communal identity and uniqueness of specific
Canadian cities is being rediscovered and poetically celebrated.
"The Travelling Life: An Account of Some
Pits and Peaks in a Three-Week Poetry Reading
of Canada." Canadian Literature,
no. 105 (Summer
evocation of the poet's juggling of speaker-audience dynamics during a reading tour
encompassing a wide range of formats.
Raoul. "Raoul Duguay Interviews bp Nichol (en
anglais)." Brick, no. 23
(Winter 1985), 25-31.
Mark. "Interview [with] Marty Gervais." Books
in Canada, 14:1 (January/February 1985),
Gary. "Old Poetics: Or, Feeding a New Line."
Waves, 13: 2/3 (Winter 1985),
introduces a group of his own poems with a short discussion on the "music" of
poetry, a pattern and balance of stresses, rhythms and sounds which he illustrates in a
line from Layton's "Keine Lazarovitch."
"Three Decades and a Bit Under the Elms:
A Fragmentary Memoir." Essays on
no. 31 (Summer 1985), 231-239.
his early exposure to "living" poets and poetry as a student at the University
of New Brunswick, acknowledging the importance of the Bliss Carman Poetry Society and Fiddlehead
as sustaining influences. His reminiscence carries him through the shift from
English-European models to a more North American-Canadian focus and finally into the
"'Body I': Daphne Marlatt's Feminist
Poetics." American Review of Canadian
(Winter 1985), 481-496.
Marlatt's attempts to discover a "mother tongue" beneath language's layer of
patriarchal discourse. Key to this discovery are the extended line and open-ended
structures, correlative of an extended, expansive self, as feminine inclusive forms
replace masculine exclusive ones. Important also is reasserting the personal
maternal bonds, as Marlatt journeys toward the spirit of her own mother in "The Month
of the Hungry Ghosts" (1979) and toward England as mother country in How Hug a
"'Mon corps est mots': l'écriture féminine de
Daphné Marlatt." Ellipse,
nos. 33/34 (1985), 88-100.
elements of previous entry with stylistic focus keyed to Pound and the Black Mountain
"What Now, Montreal?" Matrix, no. 20
(Spring 1985), 5-15.
Montreal, "birthplace of the modern tradition in Canadian poetry" has
historically nourished the poetic imagination, Hancock sees the city fragmented into
regional, even neighbourhood enclaves, often in competition. Also, political conservatism
has dampened the "passion and humour" he sees as characteristic of earlier
poetry from Montreal. Resurgent energy may be coming by way of the city's French
poetry community (through continental French theory) and may find sustenance in the
Concordia establishment, burgeoning readings, and a small press ferment.
"A Conversation with Christopher
Dewdney." Public Works (London,
Ont.),  (1985),
Voices & Visions: Interviews with
Saskatchewan Writers. Moose Jaw,
Coteau Books, c1985. iii, 228 pp.
these conversations have been published, or will be published, in the following mazagines:
Dandelion, West Coast Review, Descant, NeWest Review,
Canadian Author & Bookman, Prairie Fire, Wascana Review and Canadian
Theatre Review." Includes interviews with poets A. Szumigalski, G.
Vanderhaeghe, P. Lane, G. Sorestad, L. Crozier, J.V. Hicks, T. Heath, E. Allen and R.
"An Interview with Susan Musgrave." New
Quarterly: New Directions in Canadian
(Summer 1985), 11-23.
Linda. "A Conversation with Robert Kroetsch."
New Quarterly: New Directions in
5:1 (Spring 1985), 9-19.
Joseph. "'Brief Are the Days of Beauty': The Wisdom
of Irving Layton's The Gucci Bag." Canadian
no. 105 (Summer 1985), 32-42.
a "sense of finality" in The Gucci Bag's embrace of life's
antinomies as part of a whole stretching from innocence through disillusionment to
wisdom. The poems in the collection reflect this range and progression of spirit,
from the vituperative to those conceived in joy and wonder.
Travis. "Troll Turning: Poetic Voice in the Poetry
of Kristjana Gunnars." Canadian
Literature, no. 105
(Summer 1985), 59-68.
defines "trollishness" as the magical, primitive immediacy of the Caliban self
and cites this temperament as shaping Gunnars' Settlement Poems, One-Eyed
Moon Maps, and Wake-Pick Poems, which derive their lunar
and runic frames of reference from the nordic myths of her Icelandic Manitoba
heritage. In "Whale Constellations" (1981), he sees her reaching more
broadly toward an inclusiveness which may mark her as a major Canadian poet.
"An Unimpoverished Style: The Poetry of George
Elliott Clarke." Canadian Poetry,
no. 16 (Spring/Summer
that the modernist focus on spareness can lead to a poetic impoverishment which is here
contrasted with Clarke's ability to draw on a full range of European, African and North
American cultural resources to create the richness of texture, colour and rhyme found in
"The Emissaries," from Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues (1983).
Estella. "Margaret Atwood: Remythologizing Circe."
In her Women as Mythmakers: Poetry and
Visual Art by
Twentieth-Century Women. Bloomington:
University Press, c1984, 62-78.
discusses the transformation of an image of seduction into one of insight as Atwood
recasts Odysseus' stay on her island from Circe's point of view in You Are Happy.
The masculine pattern of the quest is undercut through substitution of the open-ended
myth of the goddess herself, in effect cancelling the primacy of the hero as stereotype
for the creative imagination.
Layton, Irving. Waiting
for the Messiah: A Memoir. With
David O'Rourke. Toronto: McClelland
c1985. 264 pp.
Layton's early years 1912-1946.
"Of Parasites and Governors: Christopher
Dewdney's Poetry." Journal of
Canadian Studies, 20:1
(Spring 1985), 136-152.
__________, Jack David, and Ellen Quigley, eds. Canadian
Lecker explores Dewdney's images of the Governor (anti-poetic, limiting and
mechanistic) and the Parasite (transcendent and creative) as universal opposites. Only in
attainment of "remote control," static moments of liberation from time, concept
and structure, can memory yield the creative insight into eternal form which takes shape
in a "halo" of luminous language. The tornado of "Into the Maelstrom"
finds vortex becoming locus as the poet is suspended out of time in the clarity of the
Writers and Their Works: Poetry Series,
Introduced by George Woodcock. Toronto:
Press, 1985. 288 pp.
on the form, context and development of Atwood (J. Mallinson), D.G. Jones (E.D. Blodgett),
Lane (G. Woodcock), Lee (T.G. Middlebro') and MacEwen (J. Bartley).
and Peter O'Brien. "An Interview with
Margaret Atwood." Rubicon, no. 6
R(uthe) Bowering, 1949- ." In Jean C. Stine and
Daniel G. Marowski, eds., Contemporary
Criticism, vol. 32. Detroit:
Gale Research, c1985, 46-48.
and reviews on Bowering published 1977-83.
"Peras: An Extract from a Page." Open
Letter, ser. 6, no. 1 (Spring 1985),
meditation on the page as a "desiring mechanism in a field of forces: the
emptiness and surface which is both possibility and limitation, inscription upon which
defines and identifies.
and Susan McMaster. "The Spoken Voice
as Musical Instrument: Performance Poetry
Open Letter, ser. 6, no. 1
(Spring 1985), -29.
the development of his system for correlating sound with symbol in "scoring"
performance poetry for pitch, time, dynamics, articulation, phrasing, timbre and duration.
Kenneth W. "Langue et parole dans l'oeuvre
poétique d'Alexandre Amprimoz." Canadian
no. 106 (Fall 1985), 32-39.
sees an ultimate unity in the self-referential nature of Amprimoz's French and English
poetry, generally assumed to differ in focus and approach. The more speculative, abstract
and ideational French poems may complement the directly personal and experiential English
works as "langue" and "parole" fuse collective and individual
discourse in meaningful communication.
Robert James. "Violence, Ecology and Political
Sense in Recent Canadian Poetry." Queen's
92:3 (Autumn 1985), 509-528.
recent volumes by twelve poets in terms of their approaches to the essentially public
issues of contemporary violence and its interplay with the natural world. He sees
the political dimensions of such issues as necessary in both capturing an audience and
validating the work itself as culturally relevant. Poets discussed: Mayne,
Gustafson, Gatenby, Fawcett, Zieroth, Suknaski, Cooley, Stephen, Kelly, Ursell, Mackinnon,
"Al Purdy in Ameliasburgh: An Archaeologist
in Search of the Present." Cross-Canada
7:1 (1985), 8-9.
author's visit with Purdy at his home, stressing the sensitivity to physical and cultural
landscape which makes eastern Ontario the "birthplace and the quality of mind"
in Purdy's works.
"'Words/rich enough to plant': Maritimes
Poetry in the Seventies." Essays on
no. 31 (Summer 1985), 220-230.
Monk expands upon
Gibbs and Cockburn's Ninety Seasons: Modern Poems From the Maritimes (1974)
with discussion of several groups of younger poets emerging from the Nowlan-Acorn-Cogswell
regional sensibility. The article defines local identity as deriving from a
conscious affiliation with the Maritimes which becomes a governing aspect of the poets'
P. "The Poetry of Michael Ondaatje and Cyril
Dabydeen: Two Responses to
Otherness." Journal of
Commonwealth Literature, 20:1
"universalist" transcendence of his ethno-cultural background makes his work
abstract and insular in its artistic self-reflexiveness, Mukherjee maintains. Such
"poetry of the unmediated present" is contrasted to Dabydeen's engagement with
his "otherness" in the Canadian cultural landscape and his commitment to the
immediacy of historical foundations in his Guyanese origins.
"Return, Toronto to the Tantramar: Regional
Poetics, the Long Poem, and Douglas
on Canadian Writing, no. 31 (Summer 1985),
Lochhead's discovery of a form which can "take the measure of the landscape" as
his rather traditional regionalism (and "dislocation" in the Toronto poems) in Collected
Poems: The Full Furnace (1975) yields to an association of poet and environment
(through which landscape becomes soulscape in the journey into self) in High Marsh Road
"The 'Pata of Letter Feet, or, The English Written
Character as a Medium for Poetry." Open
Letter, ser. 6,
no. 1 (Spring 1986), -95.
'pataphysic concepts of Alfred Jarry, Nichol calls attention to the act and substance of
poetic notation "instructing the eye on the movement of the tongue for the
pleasure of the ear . . . envisioning the speech in order to speak the vision."
This calls for an awareness of the medium, the surface of the page, and the
integrity of inscription, as "significance" = "sign-if-i-can-see/say."
Peter. "An Interview with Christopher Dewdney."
Rubicon, no. 5 (Summer 1985), 89-117.
David. "Leonard Cohen: On the Carpet." Poetry
Canada Review, 7:2 (Winter 1985-86), 26.
that Cohen articulated the feelings of a generation in his early writings, O'Rourke feels
"the cry of anguish became a whine" as "the rest of us grew up."
The poems themselves, while often emotionally potent, seem lacking in intellectual depth
"The Iron Road." Poetry Canada Review, 6:4
(Summer 1985), 24-26.
A reminiscence of
"riding the rails" west to Vancouver in 1936, at the age of seventeen, in the
depth of the Depression.
Rosenblatt, Joe. Escape
From the Glue Factory: A Memoir
of a Paranormal Toronto Childhood in the Late
Toronto: Exile Editions, 1985. x, 112
Excerpts from this autobiography were previously published in Books in Canada (November
1985) and Poetry Canada Review (Summer 1985).
Keeney. "WQ Interview with Peter Such."
Quarterly, 7:2 (1985), 5-6, 26-27.
Solecki, Sam, ed.
Spider Blues: Essays on Michael Ondaatje.
Montreal: Véhicule Press, 1985. 369
Stanzel, Franz K.
"Texts Recycled: 'Found' Poems Found in
Canada." In Robert Kroetsch and
Reingard M. Nischik,
eds., Gaining Ground: European Critics
NeWest Press, c1985 (Western
Canadian Literary Documents Series, 6),
posits a definition of the "found poem" based on the provision of a new poetic
frame and format, disruption of syntax and structural closure which force the reader to
redefine and extend the "semantic blank" toward meaning. Mandel's "News
Item" and "First Political Speech" are cited as examples, as is what J.R.
Colombo calls the "redeemed prose" of his Mackenzie Poems, The Great
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire and Great Wall of China. The discussion
concludes with the refined collage of Kroetsch's Seed Catalogue.
Robert. "Al Purdy, a Canadian Unique-ty: WQ
Interview." Cross-Canada Writers'
(1985), 3-5, 30-31.
Alice. "The Evolution of Form in Michael Ondaatje's
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and
Slaughter." Canadian Poetry,
no. 17 (Fall/Winter 1985), 1-28.
Ondaatje's artistic development reveals an increasing reliance on a "dramatic mode
and . . . a poetic form," Van Wart proceeds to discuss the two works in terms of
their enactment on the page of aspects of the worlds that they depict, most notably the
dualisms and tensions of their protagonists. Both the volumes discussed contain
"self-reflexive" structures that communicate through "formal
patterns," and through their combination of the narrative and the poetic.
"From Apocalypse to Black Mountain: The
Contexts of Layton's Early Criticism."
no. 16 (Spring/Summer 1985), 1-20.
Layton's poetics in the postwar decade by drawing from his First Statement essay,
"Politics and Poetry" (1943), as it articulated the ''Apocalyptic" stance
against the modernism of Eliot, Auden and Spender advanced in Preview, then
moving to the Contact-Black Mountain "Field" theories Layton used
to combat the "Movement"-derived genteel formalism of Toronto mythopoeicists in
"The Horses of Realism: The Layton-Pacey
Correspondence." Studies in Canadian
An examination of
the exchange of some 800 pieces over the course of two decades' vigorous debate of the
period's literary issues. Attracted by a commitment to social realism and the
engagement of poetry with its times, the poet and critic argued the relative values of
their respective crafts, shared an enthusiasm for Yeats, and cemented a sustained and
sustaining friendship (which could at times be critical Layton of Pacey's
academism, Pacey of Layton's capitulation to celebrity).
Peggy. "Pottersfield: A Fertile One-Man Operation."
Quill & Quire, 51:6 (June
A brief history
of Nova Scotia's Pottersfield Press, as well as publisher Lesley Choyce's
"Dial-a-Poet" and "poetry video" projects.
"A Report on 'Long-liners: A Conference
on the Canadian Long Poem,' York University,
Ontario, May 29 to June 1, 1984." Prairie
(Spring 1985), 61-64.
Banting offers her impressions of the 1984 Conference at York University, briefly
summarizing the major presentations and courses of discussion.
"Writing in Cape Breton: A Critical Introduction."
Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 31
(Summer 1985), 175-191.
a "nationalism" in recent Cape Breton literature, embodying an "elemental
identity" in a physical and social sense of place. Among novelists, memoirists
and short story writers, he discusses Joseph MacLeod's collection of poetry, Cleaning
the Bones (1977).
Craft Slices. [Ottawa]: Oberon Press,
c1985. 152 pp. A collection of
"The Art of Rebellion: Batoche and the Lyric
Poem." Prairie Fire, 6:4
(Autumn/Winter 1985), 6-15.
written as the introduction to No Feather, No Ink (1985), this article
suggests both diversity and continuity in poems about the 1885 Rebellion. Incidents
have been romanticised and recast to fit changing cultural concerns, Dales states, resting
on central miscon ceptions of the destruction of Batoche and of Riel's heroic stature as
political leader and poet.
Davey, Frank, and
Ann Munton, eds. Long-liners Conference
Issue. Open Letter, ser. 6, nos. 2/3
Daymond, Douglas M., and Leslie G. Monkman, eds. Towards
the Long-liners Conference on the Canadian Long Poem, York University, Toronto, May
29-June 1, 1984. Participants include: E. Mandel, F. Davey, S. Scobie, M.
Redekop, R. Miki, A. Munton, L. Dudek, J. Reaney, D. Livesay, G. Bowering, M.T. Lane, bp
Nichol, G. Geddes, D. Lee, F. Wah, C. Bernstein, D.M.R Bentley, R. Brown, S. Kamboureli
and B. Godard.
a Canadian Literature: Essays,
Editorials and Manifestos.
Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1984. viii, 303; 600 pp.
omnibus/anthology of Canadian concern with the definition and establishment of a national
literature. Volume 1: Colonial Beginnings, 1752-1867; The New Dominion,
1867-1914; Modern Transitions, 1914-1940. Volume 2: Consolidation and Debate,
1940-1959; Nationalism and After, 1959-1983.
De Leon, Lisa. Writers
of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Twentieth Century. St. John's,
Nfld.: Jesperson Press,
1985. 380 pp.
introduction to prominent Newfoundland and Labrador authors with brief commentary and
selected bibliographies. Poets include: E.J. Pratt, G. Cooper, R.A. Parsons,
H.L. Pottle, A. Scammell, L. Margaret, D.G. Pitt, P. Janes, H. Horwood, P. O'Neill, G.
Rubia, H. Porter, E. Watts, A. Pittman, T. Dawe, K. Major, T. Moore and D. Walsh.
Fee, Margery, ed.
Canadian Poetry in Selected English-
Language An thologies: An Index and Guide.
[Dalhousie University Libraries], 1985.
University Libraries and Dalhousie University
of Library Service Occasional Paper, 36) [iii],
title and first-line indexes to 44 anthologies published 1947-1983.
The Blue Notebook: Reports on Canadian
Mosaic Press, c1985. 161 pp.
A collection of
reviews spanning the period 1972-1984, including material on Dudek, Lee, Nowlan,
Gustafson, Newlove, Livesay, Layton, Purdy, Musgrave, Rosenblatt, Birney, Souster and more
"The Literature of Newfoundland: A
Roundabout Return to Elemental Matters." Essays
Canadian Writing, no. 31 (Summer 1985),
subtitle from Tom Dawe's "Peggy" (1981), Fowler examines the literary
sensibility as a bridge to the past through a strong sense of place in the works of
novelists Margaret Duley and Harold Horwood, commentators Ted Russell and Ray Guy, and
poets Al Pittman and Tom Dawe.
"The Necessity of Nobility: Indigenous
Peoples in Canadian and Australian
of Commonwealth Literature, 20:1 (1985),
examples from early Canadian verse drama, Goldie suggests that national self-definition
encouraged portrayal of the Indian as stately and honourable, while Australian lost-world
themes created an idealized native at the centre of an unknown continent, surrounded and
insulated by his degenerate, ignoble descendants.
Margaret. "Literature in English by Native Canadians
(Indians and Inuit)." Studies in
10:1/2 (1985), 146-153.
native writing is largely ignored by the Canadian literary establishment, Harry argues,
despite a rich and complex oral tradition. Even when published, it is often wrenched
into non-authentic forms, submerged in stereotype, and misunderstood.
Keith, W.J. Canadian
Literature in English. London; New
York: Longman, 1985. (Longman
Literature in English
Series) xi, 287 pp.
approach includes discussion of Canadian poetry in historical and thematic terms.
and Jack David, eds. The Annotated
Bibliography of Canada's Major Authors,
Toronto: ECW Press, 1985. 448 pp.
comprehensive annotated bibliographies of primary and secondary materials, through 31
December 1982, for Avison (F. Man sbridge), Newlove (R. Lecker and D. O'Rourke), Ondaatje
(J. Brady), Page (J. Orange), Waddington (L. Ricou) and Webb (C. Frey).
ed. Zur Literatur und Kultur Kanadas:
eine Erlanger Ringvorlesung. Erlangen:
Palm & Enke,
1984. (Erlanger Studien, 54) xv, 194 pp.
Papers from the
Summer 1984 seminar held at the Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität
Erlangen-Nürnberg, in cluding specific presentations on E.J. Pratt ("Das Verhältnis
von Evolutionstheorie und Geschichtsverständnis im Dokumentargedicht E.J. Pratts,"
K. Gross), Atwood ("Ökologische Aspekte der Werke von Margaret Atwood," P.
Goetsch) and a discussion of contemporary literary interaction with the U.S.A.
("Kanadas Verhältnis zu den USA im Spiegel seiner Literatur," D. Meindl).
"Man and Nature in Selected Canadian Poetry
of the Nineteenth Century." In R.
Cassidy and R. Klingspon,
eds., Mankind in Nature: Papers Given
at the Second
Northern Literary Symposium, Nipissing
. . . , October 1985. North
Bay, Ont.: Nipissing University
College, 1985, -78.
the evolution in the Canadian poets' vision of the landscape, from the immigrant
perceiving the threat of a harsh nature and longing for an easier world abandoned, through
the transitionary non-adversarial nature of Crawford and Sangster to the Confederation
poets' celebration of a transcendental relationship between man and nature.
"A Piece of the Continent, a Part of the Main:
Some Comments on B.C. Literature." BC
Studies, no. 67
(Autumn 1985), 3-28.
New discusses the
difficulties of defining a "B.C. Literature," suggesting it is characterized by
contesting continental and isolating impulses. He diagrams an historical shift from
English to North American perspectives, reflections of the American frontier myths of both
possibility and forbidding natural power, and the celebration of wilderness energy made
personal in the figure of Emily Carr. In time, social and economic development,
immigration patterns and urbanization turned the landscape inwards, creating a sense of
the resourceful self which reflects the "trickster" patterns of native Indian
Nichol, bp, and
Frank Davey. "The Book as a Unit of
Composition." Open Letter, ser. 6,
no. 1 (Spring 1985),
Nichol and Davey
discuss the shaping procedures involved in either conceiving or collecting poems into
books, noting the possibilities as well as the restrictions of open and closed structures,
prescriptive models of order and the physical "field" of the book itself.
ed. Guide to the Literary Heritage of
Waterloo and Wellington Counties from 1830 to
Mid-2Oth Century: An Historical
Authors and Poets. Waterloo:
University, 1985. 152 pp.
annotated bibliography with indexes of places, titles and genre (72 poets included).
Phyllis. Canadian Poetry: Index to Criticisms
Canadian Library Association,
c1985. xxviii, 337 pp.
reviews/essays on English- and French-Canadian poets drawn from collections and
periodicals published principally in Canada and the United States during the 1970s.
"Dumb Talk: Echoes of the Indigenous Voice
in the Literature of British Columbia."
BC Studies, no. 65
(Spring 1985), 34-47.
Ricou sees the
"dumb talk" at the boundary of English and native languages as a focal point in
the white attempt to explore an Indian heritage. From Emily Carr's reading of images
and patterns in the dream-song of "D'Sonoqua" to Phyllis Webb's "Free
Translations" embodying ancient raven myths, BC writers have tried to capture styles,
structures, signs and rhythms of native culture in works as varied as Musgrave's songs,
Wah's pictogrammatic poetry and bissett's chants.
"A Celebration for Canadian Literature."
English Studies in Canada, 11:2 (June 1985),
On the occasion
of Canadian Literature's 100th issue (Spring 1984), Thomas pays tribute to
the journal's quality and its significance in the Canadian literary landscape.
"On the Fringe: The Writers of British
Columbia's Coast Are Joined Less By a Sense of
Community Than By the Landscape That Surrounds
Them." Books in Canada 14:4 (May
A series of
profiles attempting to discover a "sense of place" in major West Coast writers,
including poets Phyllis Webb, P.K. Page, Robin Skelton and W.D. Valgardson.