The Future of Canadian Poetry, 3


All readers of Canadian Poetry will be relieved and pleased to know that funding has been restored to the journal under the Research and Transfer Journals Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This is the happy outcome of a complex drama that need not be replayed in full here. Suffice to say that there were two phases to the process of assessment, an initial phase consisting primarily of peer reviews in which Canadian Poetry was judged "an important journal of high quality, with a strong editorial board and a unique approach to poetry in Canada" and recommended for support, and a secondary phase in which "[a]ll applications from journals…ranked above the minimum score…on scholarly merit…were…referred to an external consultant for financial analysis." Because of the interim support of the Faculty of Arts in the years preceeding the competition, Canadian Poetry was deemed by the external consultant to have "not met the criterion for financial eligibility" and denied funding. Naturally enough, after receiving this dismaying news from SSHRCC in a letter of March 27, 1996, I wrote to the Council to protest the decision, as did the editors of several other journals and the co-presidents of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada. As Gregory S. Kealey and John A. Scott reported in a Memorandum of April 10, 1996, "[t]he results of the competition have prompted the HSSFC to severely criticize the process through which decisions about the awarding of grants have been made. This was done in a telephone conference and subsequently through a letter to Dr. Lynn Penrod [the President of SSHRCC], with a copy to members of Council." Thanks to these interventions and to the open-mindedness of Dr. Penrod and her colleagues, the decision not to fund journals that failed to satisfy the criteria of the external consultant was reversed, and on August 13 Canadian Poetry received notification that it would receive the support that it requires. My gratitude goes to all those involved in making this decision, and to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Western Ontario for the support that has enabled Canadian Poetry to continue to serve its readers, its authors, and its discipline as (forgive the editorial vanity of the repetition) "an important journal of high quality."

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Submissions are invited for a volume of essays that take an ecocritical approach to Canadian literature. Essays may focus on a single author, genre, or locality, or they may range widely over the field and its surroundings, but whatever the case they should address "the relation between literature and environment…in a spirit of commitment to environmental praxis" (Lawrence Buell, The Environmental Imagination [Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard UP, 1995], 430). Completed essays or brief proposals should be sent to: David Bentley, Department of English, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7.