Poetry in English
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William Henry Drummond became extremely popular on the publication of The Habitant and Other French-Canadian Poems , but the dialect he employed, though considered amusing in its time, now reads as unpleasantly condescending. Robert Service aimed at verse rather than poetry, and celebrated the worlds of trapping, ranching and the Klondike Gold Rush. Volumes such as Songs of a Sourdough , containing "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," for which Service is best known and Rhymes of a Rolling Stone were popular for their strong stories and emphatic rhythms.
Francis Sherman and Marjorie Pickthall both wrote poems that combine technical competence with an eloquent lyricism but which lack originality and depth.
Famous English Poets and Poems
They are minor figures who could offer little more than a civilized conventionality. These poets failed to match the work of their immediate predecessors, and the achievement of the Confederation Poets remained unchallenged until the emergence of E. Pratt after WWI. The first rather tentative experiments in 20th-century poetic technique began in A truly consistent expression of modernist principles did not occur, however, until a configuration of circumstance and career brought F.
Scott , A.
In Smith and his associates who later included A. Klein and Leo Kennedy launched the McGill Daily Literary Supplement ; followed by the McGill Fortnightly Review , , in which they published poems in the modern manner and articles on contemporary trends. At the same time the Canadian Forum established in in Toronto , with a wider cultural focus, promoted debate on current art and the quality of Canadian criticism. It featured a series of articles and statements by young writers and critics comparing the old poetry with the new, thus claiming the attention of the informed reader and laying the groundwork for a vigorous Canadian criticism.
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Felix Walter, E. Pratt and Dorothy Livesay , to name only a few, were part of this debate. The early s were not a good time for the new poetry. The Great Depression dampened creative activity in some poets and drove others into political action. The better-known, older and more conservative poets continued to publish, but the new movements, with the exception of Kennedy's The Shrouding , were still not accepted. In the situation changed with the appearance of the first serious offering of the new poetry in a pioneer anthology called New Provinces.
Its publication had been orchestrated - with difficulty - by Scott, who had assembled poems by Pratt and Robert Finch of Toronto with those of Smith, Kennedy, Klein and himself. A bold and forward-reaching introduction by Smith was set aside as too provocative, and was replaced by the moderate tones of Scott's tiny "Preface.
That year also, W. Collin, a professor of French at the University of Western Ontario, published The White Savannahs , the first collection of criticism of contemporary poetry from the modernist point of view. It admirably complemented New Provinces.
The modernist credo - rejecting past poetic practice, discarding the norms of punctuation, typographical conventions and traditional verse forms and cultivating new subject matter, which drew on the modern city with its variousness, its social ills, its machinery, its politics, its intellectual predisposition for the new in art, its ironies, tensions and structural complexities, and its new vocabulary - pointed in a fresh direction. But the gestures of were not exclusively modernist. That year the Canadian Authors Association established Canadian Poetry Magazine , which soon became identified with a more traditional poetic line.
The CAA, in which Pratt took a strong hand, stood adamantly for a more conventional approach to poetry. When WWII broke out, Canadian poetry appeared to be firmly set in 2 camps, the modern and the traditional, although the conservative group was much more successful in reaching its audience and in finding publishers for its work. The war seemed to provide a new impetus for poetry, chiefly in the surge of activity involving little magazines, which had suffered during the economically troubled s. In Contemporary Verse , a periodical of eclectic taste edited by Alan Crawley, began to publish in British Columbia.
Scott joined forces with newly arrived Patrick Anderson to launch a group publication called Preview , which was intended to keep the writing of a poetry work shop before its readers. This group, headed by John Sutherland , included Irving Layton and Louis Dudek , and its poetry would be characterized by stronger social concern and a more direct sense of urban experience.
In First Statement were published articles and reviews on literature in which the issue of national identity in Canadian writing found voice. Out of this group and its periodical there developed a modest series of books published under the First Statement imprint and featuring the early work of Layton, Anderson, Raymond Souster and Miriam Waddington. The group also published the important anthology of this generation, Other Canadians The small press movement in Canada was truly established, and now helped to focus attention on, and to pull together, the work of solitary spirits who had been writing modernist poetry.
Dorothy Livesay, Raymond Knister, R. Everson and W. Ross had made their mark as early as the s and s, but the real momentum for modern poetry would be supplied by the little magazines see literary magazines and small presses, and the collective action that they were able to generate. First Statement did not function only as a vehicle for the work of a group of like-minded writers. It was as much a little magazine in the classical sense, an outlet for new critical thinking on Canadian writing and a centre for activity destined to supply the motive force for a little press.
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It would later provide the energy to fuel the pivotal little magazine cum literary periodical, Northern Review see Literary Periodicals. The years of WWII, when writers were traumatized by mass slaughter and the destruction of much that was prized by civilization, also witnessed an unusual burgeoning of Canadian poetry. In Ralph Gustafson scored an international coup with his Anthology of Canadian Poetry , which carried English Canadian poets to a large readership under the prestigious imprint of Penguin Books. Gustafson's selection included writing not only by poets who had by now become familiar Scott, Klein, Smith, Kennedy, Pratt and Finch , but also by the relatively unknown Livesay, P.
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Page and Earle Birney. A "pattern of notice" had begun to develop, as a result of which modern Canadian poetry was being recognized in its own right through being featured in a number of significant international magazines. It bore the mark of the cautious taste of E. Brown , who in had initiated the annual review of Canadian writing under the "Letters in Canada" section of University of Toronto Quarterly ; his selection for Poetry reached back to Duncan Campbell Scott and forward to Livesay, F.
Scott, Finch, Kennedy and Anne Marnott. The issue also featured Brown's essay, "The Development of Poetry in Canada, ," which foreshadowed in its scope and approach his important study, On Canadian Poetry Smith's milestone anthology, The Book of Canadian Poetry Smith's book is distinguished by his high critical standards and by a controversial introduction that segregated the Canadian moderns into "The Native Tradition" and "The Cosmopolitan Tradition.
Smith's classification anticipated a split in Canadian poetry which occurred in the second half of the 20th century between a poetry deriving from the large framework of ideas, structures and literary influences of Britain as the mother country, and a poetry written in the language of Canadians, based on an outlook and experience peculiar to this country, and showing a North American sensibility.
Poetry in English
But the modernists soon began to draw apart. The critical quarrel between the "cosmopolitans" and the "natives" grew sharper. The late s and early s were grim years for Canadian poetry. Publishers other than The Ryerson Press were painfully modest in their efforts, nor were the poetry magazines doing much. But the mood was one of disillusionment, even of failure. It was as if the momentum of the war years had spent itself completely.
The renewal began in with the appearance of a new mimeographed poetry magazine, Contact It was the brainchild of Raymond Souster of Toronto, who had aligned himself during the s with First Statement ; he had served his own little-magazine apprenticeship by editing Direction from an RCAF base in the Maritimes and by producing 6 issues of Enterprise in Toronto in Prompted by a desire to challenge the conservative drift that had become apparent in Sutherland's thinking, Souster, egged on and joined by Dudek and Layton, launched Contact.
The new direction taken in Canada was similar to a shift towards the new poetry taking place in Europe and the US in the second half of the century. The s also saw the emergence of the ideas of Marshall McLuhan , who coedited the magazine Explorations , and the establishment of Northrop Frye as a major critic and literary theorist.
Frye's work had a major effect on certain young Canadian poets. In The Red Heart , a collection of poems written by James Reaney , a student of Frye, won the Governor General's Award and marked the beginning of the "mythopoeic school" in Canadian poetry. Jones and later Margaret Atwood. Contemporaneously, and through the effort of Contact , there appeared Contact Press , which became an important publisher of Canadian poetry.
The History of English Poetry
Created in order to give young poets a chance to publish, despite seeming indifference on the part of commercial publishers, Contact Press produced the work of Dudek, Layton and Souster, and gave a start to many of the poets who went on to create the poetry of the s and the s. As the s progressed the poetry scene began to change rapidly once again. In Fred Cogswell began to publish a series of chapbooks called Fiddlehead Poetry Books, which featured Purdy and Nowlan, among others.
In Tamarack Review was established by Robert Weaver. Canadian poetry was becoming diverse, and with the help of a general popularization of the arts, poetry was on the verge of finding a broad audience. Evolving beyond the heyday of Modernism, poetry has used language from the plain to the intellectually dense, from high to demotic or dialect; it has found subject matter in religion and myth, in history and in the contemporary scene, in the nature of self and affect, in the natural and the manmade worlds, and in the paradoxes of the act of writing itself.
Poetry has honoured its age-old debts to society but at the same time has insisted more radically than ever before on its autonomy. The module emphasizes that important poetry in English now originates from many places in the English-speaking world, not only in the traditional centres of the UK and the US. Familiarity with a substantial range of late twentieth century world poetry in English. Texts studied will include work by John Ashbery, James K.
Understanding of the nature of poetics in different English-speaking cultures worldwide, of the implications of contemporary debates on language and cognition for the writing of poetry, and of the evolution of the sense of self as a social, psychological, philosophical and political individual in poetry. The construction of a cogent argument from examination of primary and secondary texts; a critical understanding of the global character of contemporary poetics in the English language; evaluation of the relative merits of regionalism and internationalism in literature.
Close analysis of a range of texts; critical evaluation of primary, secondary literature and of other student papers. An understanding of poetry as an ideological as well as aesthetic performance; historical and critical exegesis. Supplementary material will be provided in hand-outs. Rebecca Elson 2 - Edward Fitzgerald 4 - Anne Kingsmill Finch 67 - Thomas Flatman 3 - John Fletcher 14 - Robert Graves 74 - Edgar Albert Guest 9 - Thomas Gray 11 - Thom Gunn 3 - Sidney Godolphin 4 - Adrian Green 8 - present.
Rg Gregory - present.