Two Years’ Work in Canadian Poetry Studies: 1976-1977

Compiled by Linda Dowler

Note: The following is a hand-list of criticism on English-Canadian poetry published in 1976-1977. Journal articles have been summarized or abstracted, according to the requirements imposed by the nature of the material. Full-length studies and interviews have been included without comment. It is hoped that the list will provide students and scholars with a reference point in the rapidly growing body of work in Canadian poetry criticism.


Endres, Robin. “ Robert Hayman’s ‘Quodlibets, ’” Canadian Literature, no. 73 (Summer, 1977), 68-78.

[A survey of a book of epigrams by an early seventeenth-century governor of a Newfoundland colony, now known to be the first English poetry written in Canada].

Fetherling, Doug. “The Canadian Goldsmith.” Canadian Literature, no. 6869 (Spring-Summer, 1976), 121-124.

The Candian Oliver Goldsmith’s poem “The Rising Village” is notable as “great-bad” poetry. It can be seen as founding a tradition in Canadian poetry which aims at the epic but remains merely historical.

Hughes, Kenneth J. “Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘The Rising Village.’” Canadian Poetry, no. 1 (Fall-Winter, 1977), 27-43.

The Rising Village” proves to be a better poem than has generally been thought when analysed in terms of Goldsmith’s audience, and in the context of the development of colonial political tensions in the period.

Vincent, Thomas B. “Alline and Bailey.” Canadian Literature no. 68-69 (Spring-Summer, 1976),124-133.

Alline, a Nova Scotian “New Light” poet, and Bailey, a Church of England missionary and loyalist satirist, seem to represent the two opposed modes of late eighteenth-century English verse. However, their work forms part of a broad spectrum of poetic stances in the Maritimes at this period.


Bentley, D.M.R. “‘The Onondaga Madonna’: a sonnet of rare beauty.” CV II, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 28-29.

Scott’s sonnet implies a contrast between the hope represented by the Christian Madonna and the racial despair depicted in this half-breed mother and child. His complex handling of poetic techniques to underline his message makes the piece a study in the unity of form and content.

_____. “The poetry of Byron by Archibald Lampman.” Queens Quarterly 83:4 (Winter, 1976), 623-632.

[Lampman’s paper on Byron is printed for the first time, from the holograph ms. in the Public Archives of Canada. Bentley’s prefatory note points out its value to Lampman studies.]

_____. “‘The Same Unnamed Delight’; Lampman’s essay on Happiness and Lyrics of Earth.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 5 (Fall, 1976), 25-35.

The theme of “the causality and attainment of happiness” links Lampman’s essay Happiness with the poems of Lyrics of Earth; the poet’s response to nature as a source of happiness informs both works.

Cogswell, Fred. “No heavenly harmony: A reading of ‘Powassan’s Drum.’” Studies in Canadian Literature, 1:2 (Summer, 1976), 233-237.

In Scott’s poem a flawed creator drums into being an apocalyptic vision of man’s destruction through his own division and hatred, and through the malevolence unleashed in nature by that hatred.

Connor, Carl Y. Archibald Lampman: Canadian poet of nature (Rpt. of 1929 ed.). Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1977.

Davies, Barrie. “Lampman could tell his frog from his toad: a note on art versus nature.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:1 (Winter, 1977), 129-130.

Dragland (SCL, Summer, 1976) quotes Scott on Lampman’s confusion between frogs and toads, but Scott missed the symbolic importance of frogs to Lampman.

Dragland, Stan. “Duncan Campbell Scott as literary executor for Archibald Lampman: ‘A labour of love.’” Studies in Canadian Literature, 1:2 (Summer, 1976),143-157.

[A study of Scott’s activities as Lampman’s friend, promoter, and literary executor, both during Lampman’s lifetime, and after his death.]

Dunn, Margo. “Crawford’s ‘Gisli, the Chieftain.’” CV 11, 2:2 (May, 1976), 48-50.

Crawford draws upon traditional saga material to create a new myth, which expresses her own vision of the order of the universe.

_____. “Valancy Crawford: the lifestyle of a Canadian poet.” Room of One’s Own, 2:1 (1976), 11-19.

Details of Isabella Valancy Crawford’s life are sketchy, but study of her life and work is important, not only because her work is brilliant, but also because through it we can learn of the conditions of other women of her time.

Flood, John. “The duplicity of D.C. Scott and the James Bay Treaty,” Black Moss, Ser. 2 no. 2 (Fall, 1976), 50-63.

Scott’s role in the formulation of Treaty No. 9, and much of his official work with the Department of Indian Affairs, reveal an equivocal stance between the humanitarianism of his poetry and his allegiance as a civil servant to a white, Christian, and exploitive government.

Kennedy, Margaret, “Lampman and the Canadian Thermopylae: ‘At the Long Sault May, 1660.’” Canadian Poetry, no. 1 (Fall-Winter, 1977), 54-59.

Lampman’s treatment of the “hero” Daulac reflects the nineteenth-century values and concerns found in his sources, especially Parkman’s The Old Regime in Canada.

Klinck, Carl F. Robert Service: a biography Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1977.

_____. Wilfred Campbell: a study in late provincial Victorianism. 2nd. ed. Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1977.

Mallinson, Jean. “Kingdom of absence.” Canadian Literature, no. 67 (Winter, 1976), 31-38.

Roberts praised the Romantics for their representation of human emotions and concerns in nature poetry, but his own work is chiefly interesting for the absence of a human dimension. His best poetry frees itself from derivative conventions and responds directly to the inhuman Canadian landscape.

Marshall, Tom. “The Major Canadian Poets: Between two worlds: Duncan Campbell Scott.” Canadian Forum, 57: 672 (June-July, 1977), 20-24.

Despite his tendency to fatalism in depicting the condition of the Indian people in Canada, Scott articulates more successfully than his contemporaries the Canadian theme of racial alienation.

_____. “Mountaineers and Swimmers.” Canadian Literature, no. 72 (Spring, 1977), 21-28.

Roberts’ landscape poetry is distinguished by an Olympian stance and Victorian optimism. Carman’s is more emotionally subjective, conveying an uneasy sense of cultural displacement.

Mathews, Robin. “Malcolms Katie: Love, wealth, and nation building.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:1 (Winter, 1977), 49-60.

Crawford’s poem is addressed to the major concerns, and reflects the values, of the Canadians of her time. It is about love, and optimism for the future of a land whose generosity can convert cynicism and exploitation to virtue.

McMullen, Lorraine, ed. The Lampman Symposium. Ottawa: U. of Ottawa Press, 1976.

_____. “‘The Poetry of Earth’: a note on Roberts’ Sonnets”. Studies in Canadian Literature, 1: 2 (Summer, 1976), 247-253.

Roberts’ nature poetry goes beyond mere objective description in finding metaphors in nature for his preoccupying themes of mutability and the cyclic aspect of time.

_____, ed. Twentieth Century Essays on Confederation Literature. Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1977.

Meckler, Lee B. “Rabbit-skin robes and mink-traps: Indian and European in ‘The Forsaken.’” Canadian Poetry, no. 1 (Fall-Winter, 1977), 60-65.

Seeming inconsistencies of tone and attitude in D.C. Scott’s “The Forsaken” may be reconciled by noting Scott’s manipulation of diction and narrative strategy to imply a progressive encroachment of European sensibilities upon the Indian way of life.

Nause, John. “Low Tide on the Grand Pré: an explication.” CV II, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 30-32.

[A stanza-by-stanza examination of Carman’s “Low Tide” on the Grand Pré, designed to illustrate the “cumulative emotive force” of the poem, in which the speaker finds, in the evocative images of sunset and rising tide, an expression of grief for a dead loved one.]

Noonan, Gerald. “In search of Isabella Valancy Crawford.” Quill and Quire, 43:13 (October, 1977), 24.

[A survey of the Spring symposium in Ottawa on the work of Isabella Valancy Crawford.]

Ross, Malcolm. “A strange aesthetic ferment.” Canadian Literature, no. 68-69 (Spring-Summer, 1976), 13-25.

Bishop Medley’s insistence, in the Fredericton environment of such young poets as Carman and Roberts, upon the relationship of beauty and holiness, finds expression in Carman’s later poetry despite the fact that he left both Fredericton and the Church behind.

Stewart, A.C. “The Poetical Review: A Brief Notice of Canadian Poets and Poetry.” Introd. by D.M.R. Bentley. Canadian Poetry, no. 1 (FallWinter), 66-68.

[Bentley’s introduction to the text of this satirical poem gives a brief biography of its author, comments on the occasion of the publication of the piece, and reviews its attacks on contemporary poets and periodicals.]

Tierney, Frank M. “The unpublished and unrevised poems of Charles Sangster.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:1 (Winter, 1977), 108-116.

Sangster’s revised editions of his two early works, and two further books of poetry, have remained unavailable to students of Canadian poetry. Publication of the now complete canon will make possible a long overdue reappraisal of Sangster’s work.


Clever, Glenn, ed. The E.J. Pratt Symposium: reappraisals of Canadian writers. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1977.

Cohn-Sfetcu, Ofelia. “Margaret Avison: the all-swallowing moment.” English Studies in Canada, 2:3 (Fall, 1976), 339-344.

Avison sees man as caught in the “whirlpool of disorganized experience”, no longer receptive to emotion or sensation. The solution to this pervasive human condition is redemption of the temporal moment through transcendent love.

Enright, Robert. “Knockers on the iron door.” CV II, 2:2 (May, 1976), 3-5.

A report on the E.J. Pratt Symposium at the University of Ottawa, Spring, 1976.”

Foulks, Debbie. “Livesay’s two seasons of love.” Canadian Literature, no. 74 (Autumn, 1977), 63-73.

Throughout her career Livesay has struggled with a dichotomy of attitude toward love and sexuality. Her dependence upon love for fulfilment is set against her resentment of male self-containment; her poems are a record of this conflict.

Gibbs, Robert. “Poet of apocalypse.” Canadian Literature, no. 70 (Autumn, 1976), 32-41.

Pratt’s A Witches Brew and “The Great Feud” are apocalyptic fantasies in which poetic imagination (in the former) and self-destructive energy (in the latter) are released. The imaginative indulgence of both works threatens to overburden the poetic mechanism, but is controlled by the poet’s rhetorical distance and his distinctive vision.

Gray, William. “Earle Birney’s concrete architecture.” CV II, 2:2 (May, 1976),45.

Birney’s Concrete phase has proved to be an important transitional period, allowing him to reaffirm his faith in creativity. His best work in this vein conveys a sense of Canadian cultural identity under a fragmented surface.

Livesay, Dorothy. “Canadian poetry and the Spanish Civil War.” CV II, 2:2 (May, 1976), 12-16.

The unrest of the Depression years in Canada found a focus in outrage at the Fascist rebellion in Spain. The response of poets of that period is still to be felt in the social consciousness of more recent writers.

MacLulich, T. D. “ Earle Birney’s ‘David’: a reconsideration.”  CV II, 2:3 (August, 1976), 24-27.

Critics of Birney’s “David” have concentrated on technique, avoiding discussion of meaning. Correctly read, the poem is a psychological allegory in which Bob and David are both projections of the narrator’s developing consciousness of human helplessness in the face of mortality.

Mallinson, Jean. “John Robert Colombo: documentary poet as visionary.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 5 (Fall, 1976), 67-71.

Colombo, literary scavenger, redeems the commonplace world of words, transfiguring the prose of reality into the poetry of art.

Marshall, Tom. “The Major Canadian Poets: E.J. Pratt.” Canadian Forum, 57:675 (October, 1977), 19-21.

Pratt was conscious of being a “national” poet. More successful in his shorter works than in the ambitious longer narratives, Pratt is nonetheless the major voice of an important transitional period of Canada’s development.

Middlebro’, Tom. “A commentary on the opening lines of E.J. Pratt’s Toward the Last Spike.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 1:2 (Summer, 1976), 242-243.

Toward the Last Spike is modelled on the documentary; in its opening lines Pratt uses the images of transportation and communication to link the specific and the general.

Namjoshi, S. “Double landscape.” Canadian Literature, no. 67 (Winter, 1976), 21-30.

A major concern of P.K. Page’s poetry is the clash between the internal and the external landscapes, and the artist’s effort to bring them into alignment so that harmony may be achieved.

Nause, John, and Michael Heenan. “An interview with Louis Dudek.” Tamarack Review, no. 69 (Summer, 1976), 30-43.

_____. [Interview with Raymond Souster] CV II, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 8-11.

Neufeld, James. “‘Some pivot for significance’ in the poetry of Margaret Avison.” Journal of Canadian Studies, 11:2 (May, 1976), 35-42.

Avison recognizes the need for the individual to define for himself a significant space, however limited or confined. The optimism of her vision derives from her recognition of Christ’s definition of the potentialities of human space in his Incarnation.

Pacey, Desmond. “A.G. Bailey.” Canadian Literature, no. 68-69 (Spring-Summer, 1976), 49-61.

A.G. Bailey’s early poetry was influenced by the literary environment of Fredericton, and by nineteenth-century British and Canadian poets. At University in Toronto, Bailey began to respond to modern poets whose influence underlies the distinctive vision and techniques of his mature poems.

Pollock, Zailig, and R.E. Jones, “The Transformed Vision: Earle Birney’s ‘David.’” English Studies in Canada, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 223-230.

The artistic unity of “David” is achieved through the progressive transformation of the narrator’s vision, as language used to describe the external landscape reflects the speaker’s maturing awareness of tragic experience.

Reigo, Ants. “Margaret Avison and the gospel of vision.” CV II, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 14:19.

Redekop fails to recognize that Avison’s sonnet “Snow” uses overpowering visual experience as an allegory of spiritual progress. This interpretation challenges Doerkson’s contention that the poems of the “pre-dumbfounding” period lack a metaphysical dimension.

Russell, Kenneth C. “The Blasphemies of A.M. Klein.” Canadian Literature, no. 72 (Spring, 1977), 59-66.

Miriam Waddington’s argument that A.M. Klein’s poetry is not “religious” is based on the error of regarding doubt and belief as incompatible. Klein’s poetry records the tensions inherent in mature faith.

Smith, A.J.M. “Confessions of a compulsive anthologist.” Journal of Canadian Studies, 11:2 (May, 1976), 4-14.

[Chronicles his experiences in compiling the various anthologies for which he has been responsible during his career in Canadian letters.]

Smith, A.J.M. On poetry and poets: selected essays. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977.

Wachtel, Eleanor. “Miriam Waddington in Vancouver.” Room of Ones Own, 3:1 (1977), 2-7.

Woodcock, George. “Intermittencies of place and poetry.” CV II, 2:4 (December, 1976), 18-20.

[Woodcock records the passages by which he returned to Canada and to the writing of poetry.]

Zezulka, J.M. “Refusing the sweet surrender: Margaret Avison’s ‘Dispersed Titles.’” Canadian Poetry, no. I (Fall-Winter, 1977), 44-53.

Scientific humanism and the modern crisis of belief is Avison’s topic in this difficult poem, in which images of astronomy, the stage, and modern technology are used to confront the emptiness of the heavens and to suggest an “inner direction.”


Allen, Carolyn. “Margaret Atwood: power of transformation, power of knowledge.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 6 (Spring, 1977), 5-17.

Atwood, in The Journals of Susanna Moodie, and the “Circe/mud” poems, creates women who are willing to attempt transformations, to break out of mythic or social moulds, and create themselves. [Amprimoz, Alexandre] “Interview with Tom Marshall.” Poetry Windsor Poésie, 2:2 (May, 1976), 2-10.

_____. “A note on Tom Marshall’s The White City.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 6 (Spring, 1977), 82-85.

The White City takes its meaning from the poet’s relationship with Canada. Marshall’s work is oddly similar to Gwendolyn MacEwan’s, probably because they have “shared the same historical moment,” but her generating archetypes are drawn from Egyptian mythology, Marshall’s from American Indian.

Arnanson, David, et. al. “There’s this and that connection: an interview with Daphne Marlatt.” CV II, 3:1 (Spring, 1977), 28-33.

Baxter, Marilyn. “Wholly drunk or wholly sober?” Canadian Literature, no. 68-69 (Spring-Summer, 1976), 106-111.

Nowlan’s poetry since 1969 has expressed a dichotomy between a “drunk” or subjective and a “sober” or objective self, and the awareness that a balance between the two selves must be struck if the poet’s response to situations is to be fully human.

Belyea, Barbara. “Butterfly in the Bush Garden: ‘Mythopoeic’ criticism of contemporary poetry written in Canada.” Dalhousie Review, 56:2 (Summer, 1976), 336-345.

The variety of themes and styles evident in Canadian poetry of recent years contradicts the insistence of some critics on the reality of a “Canadian sensibility” in literature.

Blott, Anne. “‘Stories to finish’: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:2 (Summer, 1977), 188-202.

Ondaatje’s book examines the processes of recording history and legend, using images of mechanization and fragmentation, fixity and madness, and techniques drawn from photography and the cinema, to provide a complex montage of perceptions and recollections of his central figure.

Boland, Viga. “Hans Jewinski: one of Toronto’s finest” [Interview]. Canadian Author and Bookman, 53:1 (Fall-Winter, 1977), 3-8.

Bowering, George. “Robert Duncan in Canada.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 4 (Spring, 1976),16-18.

California poet Robert Duncan acted as practical mentor and spiritual guide to the group of Vancouver poets who created Tish. His influence has served to move a generation of Canadian poets into a literary mainstream.

Brewster, Elizabeth, et. al. “Pat Lowther: a tribute.” CV II, 2:1 (January, 1976),15-17.

Buri, S.G. and Robert Enright. [Selections from an interview with Al Purdy.] CV II, 2:1 (January, 1976), 50-58.

Cohn-Sfetcu, Ofelia. “The privilege of finding an opening in the past: Al Purdy and the tree of experience.” Queens Quarterly, 183:2 (Summer, 1976), 262-269.

Faced with the “tragic paradox of the human condition,” Purdy taps the spiritual heritage of the past to affirm the power of human beings simultaneously to embrace and transcend objective reality.

Davey, Frank. “Atwood’s Gorgon touch.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:2 (Summer, 1977), 146-163.

Atwood’s poetry is preoccupied with a spatial /temporal opposition, in which the effort of the artist-woman is to escape the static aesthetic of space, and enter time, process and mortality.

David, Jack. “An elfin plotting: an interview with Andrew Suknaski.” CV II, 3:1 (Spring, 1977), 10-12.

_____. “Visual poetry in Canada: Birney, Bissett and bp.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:2 (Summer, 1977), 252-266.

Visual poetry has a history which goes back to the ancient Greeks, but the modern “concrete” movement began in the Fifties. In Canada, Earle Birney, Bill Bissett and bp Nichol are the strongest practicioners of this innovative form.

Day, David. “A grafted tongue: contemporary Indian poetry in Canada.” CV II, 2:3 (August, 1976), 4-9.

As well as reviving traditional poetic forms, many Indians are working in contemporary styles to establish an identity which bridges the gap between the Old People’s culture and modern realities.

de Santana, Hubert. “Monarch in Mufti: some notes on Richard Outram. . . .” Books in Canada, 5:9 (September, 1976), 6-9.

Outram has been unjustly ignored by critics. His work is artistically brilliant, combining beauty, toughness, and wit of a quality unmatched in contemporary Canadian poetry.

Early, Len. “bill bissett/poetics, politics and vision.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 5 (Fall, 1976), 4-24.

Bissett’s verbal chaos, phonetic spelling and concrete forms are aspects of his rebellion against traditional poetics. Some of his poems are informed by exuberance and beauty, particularly those in which ritual and play combine to create a kind of sacred vision of the elemental relationship of language, nature and humanity.

Foster, John Wilson. “The poetry of Margaret Atwood.” Canadian Literature, no. 74 (Autumn, 1977), 5-20.

Atwood’s poetry is concerned with the self’s inhabitation of spaces, and with the physical space of Canada, both past and present. The pioneer experience is a metaphor for the psychic journey toward acceptance of the inescapable forms, spaces, roles.

Francis, Wynne. “Layton and Nietzsche.” Canadian Literature, no. 67 (Winter, 1976), 39-52.

Layton’s poetry since the Fifties has exemplified various aspects of Nietzschean philosophy, particularly those concerned with the nature and function of art, and the idea of the poet as a Dionysian figure.

Gervais, C.H., ed. The Writing Life: historical and critical views of the “Tish” movement. Coatsworth: Black Moss Press, 1976.

Gnarowski, Michael, ed. Leonard Cohen: the artist and his critics. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1976.

Grant, Judith Skelton, “Leonard Cohen’s poems-songs.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:1 (Winter, 1977), 102-107.

Revisions made to five of Cohen’s poems when they became songs reveal Cohen’s ability to rework to good effect, when moved to do so.

Harvey, Roderick W. “bp Nichol: the repositioning of language.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 4 (Spring, 1976), 19-33.

Nichol is a courageous experimentor with poetic language, seeking to revitalize the printed word by going beyond it. The fragmented verbal universe of electronic technology is reflected, and made whole again, in the redefined language of an experimental poetry.

Hunt, Peter. “Irving Layton, pseudo-prophet: a reappraisal.” Canadian Poetry, no. 1 (Fall-Winter, 1977), 1-26.

Layton’s work has been over-praised by critics. Despite an acknowledged ability to write lyrical and moving poetry, his responses lack compassion, his rebellion lacks integrity, and his philosophy lacks depth.

Kiverago, Ronald, “‘Local poet deserves attention’: the poetics of David McFadden.” Open Letter, ser. 3, no. 5 (Summer, 1976), 16-26.

McFadden roots his poetic vision in concepts of organic creativity, and of physical reality as defining identity. He employs simplifying techniques to portray and criticize the society in which he lives.

Lee, Dennis. “Roots and play: writing as a 35-year-old children.” Canadian Childrens Literature, no. 4 (1976), 28-58.

Roots” — the locating of language and images in their own time and space, and “play” — uninhibited joy in pure nonsense-combine in the best of Lee’s poems for children.

_____. Savage Fields: an essay in literature and cosmology. Toronto: House of Anansi, 1977.

Mallinson, Jean. “Moving farther north.” CV II, 2:4 (December, 1976), 1011.

Heather Spears’ expatriate experience in Denmark has had the effect of increasing her poetic awareness of the English language.

_____. “Words for the unspeakable.” Canadian Forum, 56: 661 (May, 1976), 27-30.

Heather Spears and Miriam Mandel, in chronicling the characteristics of mental breakdown, reassure us that experience may be mastered through the recording of it, and that in poetry nothing is unspeakable.

Mandel, Eli. “Atwood Gothic.” Malahat Review, no. 41 (January, 1977), 165-174.

Atwood’s emphasis on mirror images points to a preoccupation with duplicating and reduplicating which owes much to the traditional patterns of Gothic horror. Her constant effort is to answer the questions raised by the reflecting/reflector dilemma.

_____. “Writing West: on the road to Wood Mountain.” Canadian Forum, 67:672 (June-July, 1977), 25-29.

[A personal discussion of the tensions and ambivalences inherent in Canadian literary regionalism.]

Marshall, Tom. “Atwood under and above water.” Malahat Reuiew, no. 41 (January, 1977), 89-44.

The essential point of Atwood’s work, both poetry and fiction, is the search for personal and national identity.

Marshall, Tom. “On the editing of Quarry in my distant youth.” Poetry Windsor Poésie, 3:1 & 2 (Summer, 1977), 21-27.

[An account of Quarrys founding and progress, and the poets associated with it, under the editorship of Marshall and others.]

Mathews, Robin. “Poetics: the struggle for a voice in Canada.” CV 11, 2:4 (December, 1976), 6-7.

Canadian poetry recovered from its first colonial era only to be subjected to a second, reflected in the “Vancouver Black Mountain Imitation School.”

Maud, Ralph. “Ethnopoetics: an assessment.” CV II, 3:1 (Spring, 1977), 1619,

Much useful work is being done in this field, which involves a new approach to the translation of primitive songs and stories. Certain dangers attend its popularizing as an academic discipline, however; it should remain a “sort of permanent subculture.

McCaffery, Steve. “Strata and strategy: pataphysics in the poetry of Christopher Dewdney.”  Open Letter, ser. 3 no. 4 (Spring, 1976), 45-56.

An awareness of language as lie informs Dewdney’s poetry, in which “fossil” functions as an analogy for linguistic sign, and language is seen as creative only in its inherent tendency to misrepresent facts.

McFadden, David. The Poets Progress. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1977.

Melnyk, George. “The ghosts that haunt the poetic lays of Andrew Suknaski, Westerner” [Interview]. Books in Canada, 6:4 (April, 1977), 31-32.

Mundweiler, Leslie. “After realism: McFadden and Wayman.” CV II, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 36-40.

Wayman’s New Realism fails to give language its full due as a power to re-create a work situation degraded by capitalism. McFadden’s confrontation of the pop culture is exemplary of the re-creative potential of “real” language in poetry.

Norris, Ken. “Poetic honey: the English poetry scene in Montreal.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 6 (Spring, 1977), 66-76.

[A survey of English poetry movements in Montreal since the ’20’s, and of the current situation. Appends a short bibliography of Montreal small presses and little mags.]

_____, and Andre Farkas. “David McFadden in Hamilton.” CV II, 3:2 (Summer, 1977), 42-49.

Nowlan, Alden. “Something to write about.” Canadian Literature, no. 68-69 (Spring-Summer, 1976), 7-12.

[Nowlan discusses his early life, his development as a poet, and his response to his Maritime background and environment.]

Oliver, Michael Brian. “Dread of the Self: escape and recognition in the poetry of Alden Nowlan.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 5 (Fall, 1976), 50-66.

Nowlan’s reluctance to reveal himself in his early poetry stems from his inability to define himself in terms of the light/dark dichotomy of his puritanical environment. His subsequent work chronicles his process of reconcilement with the past, and with the forces of corruption and death.

_____. “The presence of ice: the early poetry of Alden Nowlan.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 1:2 (Summer, 1976), 210-222.

Nowlan’s early poetry is informed by his determination to explore the wilderness of his Maritime heritage. He depicts the rural Maritime consciousness as divided into levels of rationalism and passion, separated by the “ice” of a puritanical religious tradition.

Osterlund, Steven. Fumigator: an outsiders view of Irving Layton. London: Killaly Press, 1976.

Pearce, Tom. “Filling up the whole round: an interview with Tom Marshall.” Queens Quarterly, 83:3 (Autumn, 1976), 413-423.

Paserik, Metro. Yankee Poetry in British Columbia: the curious case of Tish Magazine. Dos Equis Press, 1977.

Richardson, Keith. Poetry and the colonized mind: Tish. Oakville: Mosaic Press, 1976.

Rosenberg, Jerome H. “On reading the Atwood papers in the Thomas Fisher Library.” Malahat Review, no. 41 (January, 1977), 191-194.

[A personal response to, and overview of, the collection.]

Ross, Gary. “The divided self.” Canadian Literature, no. 71 (Winter, 1976), 39-47.

The poems of Atwood’s The Animals in that Country describe an interior and exterior journey, in the course of which the poet’s self becomes progressively more divided. Movement toward reintegration of self with self takes place in a human, reciprocal context.

Ryan, Sean. “Florence McNeil and Pat Lowther.” Canadian Literature, no. 74 (Autumn, 1977), 21-29.

Lowther celebrates the human, but in the context of elemental and archetypal prehistory. McNeil is more concerned with the artifacts of human history, and with the presence of the recorded past in our inherited present.

Sandler, Linda. [Interview with George Jonas.] Canadian Literature, no. 73 (Summer, 1977), 25-38.

_____. “Interview with Margaret Atwood.” Malahat Review, no. 41 (January, 1977), 7-27.

_____. “An interview with Robin Skelton.” Tamarack Review, no. 68 (Spring, 1976), 71-85.

[Schiller, William] “Interview with Margaret Atwood.” Poetry Windsor Poésie, 2:3 (Fall, 1976), 2-15.

Skelton, Robin. “Timeless constructions: a note on the poetic style of Margaret Atwood.” Malahat Review, no. 41 (Jan., 1977), 107-120.

Atwood’s poetic style is “modular”-ie. constructed out of “moveable building blocks.” There is precedent for this in Pound and Stevens, and in earlier poets. This kind of poetry is concerned with states of being rather than events; it is non-sequential. [Analyses Atwood’s poetry in these terms.]

Solecki, Sam. “Nets and chaos: the poetry of Michael Ondaatje.” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2:1 (Winter, 1977), 36-48.

Reality for Ondaatje is essentially chaotic; mind and art attempt to “net” or “fence” chaos. Despite his mistrust of a verbal response to experience, this poet has the courage to confront and describe reality in its full complexity.

Stevens, Peter. “The fiery eye: the poetry of Irving Layton.” Ontario Review, no. 4 (Spring-Summer, 1976), 51-58.

Images of “fire” and “eye” have been constant for Layton throughout a career distinguished by a developing power of language, a growing acceptance of his own doubleness as man/poet, and a deepening affirmative vision, in full awareness of evil and ugliness.

Sullivan, Rosemary. “Breaking the circle.” Malahat Review, no. 41 (January, 1977), 30-41.

Atwood’s attempts to break out of the “circle game” of languages, cultural barriers, logic, the self, have so far been unrealized in her work.

Struthers, J.R. (Tim). “An interview with Margaret Atwood.” Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 6 (Spring, 1977), 18-27.

Tallman, Warren. “Wonder merchants: modernist poetry in Vancouver during the 1960’s.” Open Letter, Ser. 3, no. 6 (Winter, 1976-77), 175-207.

American poets Duncan and Creeley transmitted Olson’s concept of “proprioception” to the young Vancouver poets, who, unmoved by Layton’s “humanism” or Birney’s “eclecticism,” caught the modernist fever. When the resulting Tish movement began to wane, the centre of energy moved to bissett’s blew ointment press.

Turner, Gordon P. “The breath of Arctic men: the Eskimo North in poetry from within and without.” Queens Quarterly, 83:1 (Spring, 1976), 13-35.

[A critical survey of traditional and modern Eskimo poetry, and of poetry about the North written by Southern Canadians.]

Warwick, Ellen D. “To seek a single symmetry.” Canadian Literature, no. 71 (Winter, 1976), 21-34.

In her four major collections of poetry, Gwendolyn McEwan is constructing a mythic frame in which to seek, through mysticism, love and art, the means of healing a divided world, of making wholeness out of chaos.

Webb, Phyllis. “Polishing up the view.” CV II, 2:4 (December, 1976),14-15.

[A transcription of a taped poetry reading and commentary.]

Witten, Mark. “Billy, Buddy, and Michael: the collected writings of Michael Ondaatie. . . .” Books in Canada, 6:6 (June-July, 1977), 9-13.

[A “profile” of the poet.]


Bayard, Caroline and J. David. Out-post/avant-postes. Erin, Ont.: Press Porcépic, 1977 (Three Solitudes: contemporary literary criticism in Canada, v. 4).

Farley, T.E. Exiles and Pioneers: a study in identities. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1976.

Hodgins, Jack, ed. The West Coast Experience. Toronto: Macmillan, 1976.

Mandel, Eli. Another time. Erin, Ont.: Press Porcépic, 1977 (Three Solitudes: Contemporary literary criticism in Canada, v. 3).

Moisan, Clement. A poetry of frontiers. Erin, Ont.: Press Porcépic, 1977 (Three Solitudes: contemporary literary criticism in Canada, v. 5).

Staines, David, ed. The Canadian Imagination: dimensions of a literary culture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977.

Stevens, John, ed. The Ontario Experience. Toronto: Macmillan, 1976.