Spotlight 1

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Managing Editor: g.d. currie Administrative Editor: Patrick Outhwaite Fiction Editors: Fionn Adamian, Lilika Kukiela Interim Poetry Editor: g.d. currie Promotions Editors: Nina Chabelnik, Leah Smith Visual Editor: Nina Chabelnik Design: [tin_factory] with Michael Seravalle Scrivener Creative Review Spotlight 1 October 2018 Scrivener Creative Review is a journal of arts and letters based in Montréal, Canada. For general inquiries, please visit us at, or contact us by email at Scrivener Creative Review McGill University 853 Sherbrooke St. West Arts Building Montréal, Quebec Canada, H3A 2T6 Printed by Solutions Rubiks Inc., Montréal

Scrivener Creative Review gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the Fine Arts Council, the Dean of Arts Development Fund, the Department of English Students’ Association, the Students’ Society of McGill University, and the Arts Undergraduate Society.

Contents Introduction 3

A letter from the Managing Editor

Spotlight on Louis Dudek

4 6 10 12 15 16 18 20

26 35 36 38 44 45 54 56 59 insert


Visual Art

29 / 49 33 / 62 39 / 53 42 / 58

Brian Trehearne: Remembering Louis Dudek An interview with Louis Dudek Louis Dudek: The Poetic Life (If There is One) Patrick Outhwaite: Louis Dudek’s Caustic Marginalia Louis Dudek: A Marginal Interlude Lilika Kukiela: Refiguring “Bitch Psychology”: Dudek on Atwood Miranda Hickman: “Radical Modernist Pedagogy”: Dudek at McGill Michael Gnarowski: Louis Dudek: Early Days at McGill Louis Dudek: Five Poems Marquita Crevier: Conversation With a Poet Raymond Souster: Two Poems Noah Zacharin: Three Poems Daniel Galef: Pound & Till -- Pisa, 1945 Louise Hill: Two Poems Sarah Wolfson: Love Song in a Small Place Danijela Stojković: Two Poems Patrick O’Reilly: Three Poems Brian Henderson: Choose Me Kris Paimon: Right This Way / Annunciation Christopher Woods: Suspended / Man and Water kerry rawlinson: mast / fractal, with Boy Jasmine Nihmey Vasdi: Paul Barfly / Montreal at Night


63 Biographical notes 66 Acknowledgements Scrivener Creative Review Spotlight 1 no.

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Copyrights are retained by the artists upon publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the copyright holder’s express permission.

Dear Reader, You hold in your hands the end result of a mad experiment. Roughly a year ago, we at Scrivener decided to get back to our roots. In search of inspiration, we dove deep into our back catalogue, and back further still to the classic little mags that were our forebears: First Statement, Canadian Poetry, The Fiddlehead, and many others. Heck, we even borrowed a few ideas from The Veg (sorry cousin). The end result was Issue 43, arguably our finest to date. (By the way, thanks to a somewhat overzealous print run, 43 is still very much in stock. Head down to The Word on Milton Street and grab a copy. Seriously, you don’t know what you’re missing.) Returning to our story: there was the obvious question of what to do next. Someone pitched the idea of taking Scrivener biannual. We had done it in the past, but those issues were printed in the heady days of Canada Council grants and a staff two dozen strong, or, more recently, in conjunction with another publication. Could a staff of six, three of whom would be out of the country, many of whom already had a full summer schedule (tanning, studying for the GRE, inconsolable weeping, etc.) — could such a team produce an entire issue in little more than half the time usually allotted? Are editors overly fond of rhetorical questions? We succeeded, of course, and in this editor’s opinion, matched, if not eclipsed the success of 43. But, in truth, this experiment was never so mad as I made it out to be. A cheap rhetorical trick! g.d. currie is a hack!

Indeed. Quite true.

Also true is the fact that Scrivener is only made possible through the support of a vibrant, deeply rooted community of poets, scholars, and artists in one of the finest cities in the world. It is in celebration of this network and heritage that Scrivener has begun what will be henceforth known as the Spotlight series. Each issue will shine a light on one of the myriad figures and institutions that have by turns made Montréal and McGill long-standing poetic and cultural meccas. A project that is equal parts creation, celebration, and conversation in the round, it is only fitting that Spotlight 1 belongs to Louis Dudek. I would introduce him, but I think he would want to meet you on your own terms. what are you waiting for?

g.d. currie

Introduction 3

Louis Dudek, Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, passed away on Thursday, March 22nd, 2001, at the age of 83. His contribution to Canadian literature as essayist, polemicist, critic and commentator gave the Faculty of Arts one of its most eminent scholars, but it is as a poet, and a defender of poetry’s value in our lives, that he will be most keenly missed by a wider community of Canadian writers and readers. Professor Dudek was born in Montreal in 1918. He took the B.A. at McGill in 1939, worked briefly in advertising, and was prominent among the rebellious young poets who participated in First Statement (1942-1945), a seminal “little magazine” in the development of modern Canadian literature. In 1944 he left for doctoral studies at Columbia University under the eminent scholars Lionel Trilling and Jacques Barzun, then returned to McGill in 1951 to join the Department of English. He established himself promptly on the Canadian scene with his long poems Europe (1954) and En Mexico (1958). Dudek maintained his commitment to the long poem throughout his life: Atlantis, a breakthrough experiment in fragmented modern form, appeared in 1967; Continuations, an ongoing record of the poet’s meditative life, appeared in four volumes from 1981 to 2000. In and among these high-water marks Dudek published another sixteen volumes of poetry. His life-long commitment to self-publication, as a means of ensuring the poet’s freedom from contamination by the marketplace, and his advocacy of modernism were exemplary for generations of younger poets. Indeed, throughout his life, Prof. Dudek was active on their behalf. Although he vigorously opposed the teaching of creative writing in universities as yet another means of poetry’s


institutionalization, he was generous with his time and moral support whenever a young writer approached him with a sheaf of poems, as they did, in their hundreds, across the four decades of his work at McGill. The most famous of such encounters was the day when a young Leonard Cohen approached him; Dudek’s response was to establish the McGill Poetry Series at his own expense, with Cohen’s Let Us Compare Mythologies as its first title. (It may be apocryphal that he also had the young Cohen kneel so he could strike him on either shoulder with the manuscript itself.) This vital role was continued through the many presses with which he was involved: most notably Contact Press, which he founded with Raymond Souster and Irving Layton in 1954, Delta Canada (named after his own one-man little magazine), and DC Books, which he ran with his wife Aileen Collins well into the 1990s. In the course of these efforts such poets as Margaret Atwood, Al Purdy, George Bowering, Daryl Hine and D.G. Jones received vital early publication. Dudek also earned distinction among the founders of Canadian literary criticism. His pithy, demanding essays were collected in various volumes, most notably in Selected Essays and Criticism (1978) and in a special issue of Open Letter (1981). He was a regular contributor of articles to Canadian academic journals and in keeping with his commitment to literature as part of daily life made frequent appearances on CBC Radio and in various newspapers as a commentator on the arts and culture. Some of his most noted publications registered his ongoing disagreements with Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan.

by In the former he found a dangerous critical propensity to value the contemporary writer only insofar as he or she replicated the patterns of some earlier, universalizing vision; in the latter popular culture less attentive to the poet’s vital function. Meanwhile he pronounced substantially on the complexities of modernism, statements that have since become required reading such as The Theory of the Image in Modern Poetry (1981) and The First Person in Literature (1967), from his lectures on CBC Radio’s “Ideas” program. Dudek did not see such public and scholarly commitments as detracting from his vocation as a poet. On the contrary, he always sought forms and modes of poetry that would allow the expression of intellect and insight as readily as the articulation of feeling, and later in his career he found striking new forms for their convergence, perhaps most notably in Ideas For Poetry (1983). A gifted and natural lecturer, Dudek created one of the most popular and challenging courses in the history of the Faculty of Arts. “Great Writings of Europe,” a linked two-year course, brought together the finest literature of the last three centuries in an attempt to understand the dynamic of tradition and subversion that had reached disastrous climax in the twentieth century. The course swelled rapidly from an early enrolment of thirty, to five hundred but (to my personal regret as his later student) was abandoned in the campus

Brian Trehearne

disruptions and curricular re-directions of the 1960s. He never relented, however, in the Socratic pedagogy that was his hallmark. A visit to his office was a vital experience of intellectual uplift and challenge that never left one indifferent. I still remember scoffing at T.S. Eliot, thinking to please the man who had himself shorn Eliot of a few feathers, only to have Dudek wheel his chair around to my side of the desk, The Waste Land in hand, and declaim from it passages of such intense beauty that I date my own dedication to modernist studies from that moment. It could not be more fitting that the Department of English Students’ Association has named their annual award for excellence in teaching The Louis Dudek Award, a mark of gratitude that touched him deeply as he presented the first in 1996. Though he received such prominent honours as the Order of Canada, Dudek’s poetry received little critical attention during his lifetime, a lack I believe he felt keenly, even though he had always shunned the kinds of fame and reputation that popular poets will sometimes earn from their publishers and readers. His death will surely bring about a deepening of attention to his poetry’s beauty and accomplishment as much as to its capaciousness of idea. That so much of that work was written during his years at McGill is telling of the university as it was once conceived as a place in which Matthew Arnold, for instance, to whom Dudek has often been compared, might fulfill both scholarly duties and creative genius with equal brilliance. We can be grateful for the reminder.

Trehearne 5


Mr. Dudek, I was looking through your Epigrams the other day, and the very first one read, “Fame is merely the privilege of being pestered by strangers.” I would like to thank you for letting Scrivener pester you today. Let me say this about my private life: I’ve been retired since May 1984, but being pestered by one thing or another is still constantly a distraction. First, one does not stop writing recommendations for graduate students and others. One letter can take up all your morning, and every week there are several of these coming through. And then there are the people who bring poems or even novels... And the CBC was just phoning about something – my whole week is occupied with keeping some part of the public happy.


Louis Dudek

Now, I’m not a famous man, but I have had enough small fame to know what it must be like when you become truly famous. Leonard Cohen, I imagine, is trying to hide like a turtle most of the time. What I like best is dropping in for a cup of coffee at some little snack bar and writing a poem, or just thinking my thoughts. If you’re famous you can’t do that. In another of the epigrams, you say that “We have a completely new Canadian Literature every twenty years, it just doesn’t stand up any longer than that.” That’s a bitter one! [laughs] Ken Norris in his anthology Canadian Poetry Now quotes the first part of it, but he doesn’t add that “it doesn’t stand up any longer than that,” and that’s really the bite in the epigram. The literature just isn’t good enough. Canada has been slowly developing a society of the sort that can generate a literature of its own, on par with Europe and the rest of the North American continent. You can easily see that if you compare the literature that was written in the nineteenth century to the present — Hugh MacLennan, [Mordecai] Richler, Alice Munro and the rest. There’s been a tremendous advance, a greater sophistication, and [we’ve developed] our ability to address the reader and our own society in a more mature and fully artistic way. Of course, every generation thinks that, “At last, we have arrived; at last Canada has a literature,” but this hope is usually disappointed. After fifteen or twenty years the next generation comes along and says, “The others, poor idiots, were a backward lot.” And they claim that they’re now starting a genuine Canadian literature. This kind of battle of generations doesn’t really go on in England, or in Germany, or in France, because there the great

tradition is so strong. That’s the point of the epigram, that “Canada has a new literature every twenty years.” The culture is still developing, and people are quite gullible, so they go for some new golden calf in every decade. We just don’t have sufficiently mature criticism. In the past it seems we had active schools of poetry, yourself, [Irving] Layton, [Raymond] Souster, many others, but you can’t really find that these days; all the well-known poets writing now began writing back then. Where are the present day’s poets? What you have is a delta, right now, of poetry and literature: multitudes of writers, brought about by several things. There is the Canada Council; there’s the expansion of the universities; and there’s a pop culture phenomenon that favours guitar players as well as singers and poets… From the sixties right up to the present, our culture is a culture by and for teenagers, it’s the teens who buy the records and set the tone of the era in which we’re living. So there’s a release of this new potentiality of youth that has come onto the scene; and the granting agencies that consider art important have done their bit to create a plethora of Canadian Poets, in English only. Now there cannot be two hundred poets in Canada, there cannot be more than three or four at the most who are really significant. That kind of thing is limited somehow by nature. You have this great abundance of poetry, and the question arises, how really durable or valuable is it? Is it just a lot of satisfying creativity for the moment that will eventually perish? Of course, I read the new books as they keep coming week by week and all of them are interesting. There’s always something genuine and honest in new poetry.

Yes, we get that impression at Scrivener. There’s a lot of good work out there but it all seems diluted or diffused, like no one is in communication with anyone else. Do you think that these individualistic tendencies are, in a way, responsible for the present state of poetry in Canada? The thing you point to has been around for a while — the large number of writers and the lack of communication. And they have actually found an answer here and there. One example was the Véhicule Poets at the Véhicule Gallery. They would bring poets together and have readings, sometimes with fifteen poets reading in a single night. They suddenly found that they had a community. That’s what the Véhicule phenomenon was all about; it was meant to provide contact and some human warmth for all those poets out there. Well, poets have got to find a venue. The Word bookstore (on Milton Street) is one such place. Let’s compare with the situation in the past, the typical story of little magazines in Montréal. You start in a city where there is no magazine, but there are writers, writing almost secretly, quietly. They are feeling solitary and depressed, when suddenly someone in the drawing-room says, “Why don’t we start a little magazine, even if it’s going to be just mimeo for a start.” They do the magazine, and at once the few writers converge together and you’ve got an historical moment; by God, you’ve got something very important. Well then, the movement peters out and we wait for another time when everyone feels, “There are writers around, but where are they? Shall we start a magazine?” Now with the magazines around today, the situation is somewhat different: they are following a tradition somewhat mechanically.

Dudek 7

There are magazines, like Antigonish Review, Northern Light; there’s Waves, there’s Scrivener, there’s Rubicon, and on the west coast there’s Capilano Review and some others… but maybe something is missing here. These kinds of magazines really become important in Canadian literary history when its direction, and the people it publishes, get in contact with the real needs of poetry. A literary culture is always in a process of change, and the good editor must ask, “Where has it been, and where is it going now?” This is the most important point: to know the history of the art in which you are involved and to imagine next where it has to move. If writers and artists perceive the same problems and the editors know what’s what, then you have a breakthrough into a new phase of literature.


It’ll be given a name, it’ll become a school in fact: Imagism, or Post-Modernism, or classical Modernism, or whatever it might be. This cannot come about by just publishing every kind of poetry; “We try to find good poetry” is not good enough. It has no direction. You might say I and my generation bought stocks when the company was just beginning. We bought into Modernism when Frank Scott and A.J.M. Smith and A.M. Klein had just begun. When I came into the picture in the forties with [Irving] Layton and Souster and others, we said, “We’ve got to go much further with this; the modern idea is much more liberating than this, more radical, more realistic, more concerned with change in the forms of poetry.” So we modernized — we had that advantage. Now, what followed later, up to post-modernism with Frank Davey and his friends, is quite different. Now it’s so easy to get started because Modernism has grown into a big, fat corporation, and you might well say, “Where has it gone wrong?” I’ve written articles pointing out that in fact Modernism destroyed the art of poetry, as it has also destroyed music and painting. Modernism is the kind of radical enterprise that, pushed to its farthest limit, destroys the very art it set out to renew. If that is true, then your next stage will be some kind of critical modernism, a reconstruction. We’ve got to discover what point of the process is the most productive. This may be true of society as a whole. I’m not one to preach. I’m already in my sixties; you boys are the ones who have to discover why things have gone to hell and how they can be put on the rails again.

In “The Psychology of Literature,” you wrote that “the source of every work of literature is in a human individual in a particular state of mind and motivation… I would say from long experience and observation that creativity is a crisis phenomenon.” Is the poet then in a perpetual state of crisis? Is that state necessary to the production of good poetry? Some poets are in a perpetual state of crisis, yes. For example, Ezra Pound, whose mind was under constant pressure: he was actually suffering from some kind of paranoid schizophrenia throughout his life, and increasingly so from the 1920s on. But it wasn’t until the end of the Second World War, when he was arrested, in 1945, and put into a concentration camp where he was without books, under the Italian sun, in a kind of cage, that suddenly his crisis reached a peak. And he wrote his greatest poetry, the Pisan Cantos. As he told me personally, “It’s a terrible thing when poetry starts coming to you like that, and you haven’t got any way to put it down.” There’s a real connection between art and mental disturbance; they are really almost like alternatives. As soon as any living thing comes into the world it finds itself in danger, and therefore much of its life experience is a state of crisis. Art is a product of this jitteriness in the living thing, of conscious anxiety. Art is an attempt to imagine how bad things could be, or else how much better they could be. Therefore poetry tends to become apocalyptic, paradisal, utopian, or else it tends toward the morbid and fearful. These are the polarities of a state of crisis. I believe to some extent in the spontaneity of poetry, in the act of creation as a natural process. You might say, “How can poetry be genetically included in human nature?” Well,

not as a platonic absolute: That is, there is no “poetic assembler” as such. But there is something in man which makes for art. It’s that level of intensity when a man addresses his group. He delivers a permanent message, a decalogue, like Moses coming down from the mountain with the tablets. We all have this capacity to rise to the occasion. I’m just as puzzled as anyone over what it is, and what kind of strange business imaginative creation can be. It does great things, it has made art from the beginning of time. In primitive societies man was lifted out of himself and he participated in the life of the tribe when he spoke for the tribe. And people said “He is carried away; the gods are speaking through him.” In other words, this life’s powers are speaking through us, we have some deeper sense of what it means to be alive when a poem comes, or even when a bit of poetry flashes in your mind. It may be just one phrase. Even one word can be a revelation.

For this interview in its unabridged form, please see Scrivener Creative Review, Volume 6, Number 2.

Original interview conducted and compiled by Andre Burgess. The current Managing Editor takes full responsibility for any typographic errors.

Dudek 9


Historically, poets have always been hangers-on, court dependants, beggars after patronage. Hardly a good life. Tempermentally too, they’ve tended to be eccentrics, uncombed, uncouth, often a bit mad — as Horace describes them [in his Ars Poetica]: He, inspired, goes wandering off, spouting his verses, And if like a fowler intent on blackbirds, he falls Into a well, or a pit, however much he cries: “Help me, citizens!” none will bother to pull him out. If anyone did choose to help, and let down a rope, I’d say: ‘Who knows if he didn’t do that on purpose, And doesn’t want to be saved?’ and I’ll tell the tale Of the Sicilian poet’s death, how Empedocles Keen to be an immortal god, coolly leapt into Burning Etna. Grant poets the power and right to kill Themselves: who saves one, against his will, murders him. It’s not his first time, nor, if he’s rescued will he Become human now, and stop craving fame in death. It’s not too clear why he keeps on making verses. Has he desecrated ancestral ashes, disturbed A sad spot struck by lightning, sacrilegiously? Yes, He’s mad: like a bear, that’s broken the bars of its cage The pest puts all to flight, learned or not, with reciting: Whom he takes tight hold of, he grips, and reads to death, A leech that never looses the skin, till gorged with blood.


Louis Dudek

No, it isn’t a pretty picture. Unless the poet was a monk, a gentleman with a private income, or an aristocrat, his life was bound to be of a miserable sort. Think of the aristocratic names: Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Philip Sydney, Lord Herbert, Lord Byron. Think of the gentlemen-priests: John Donne, Herrick, George Herbert, Trahearne. It was only with the Romantic movement that the poet emerged as an alienated social outsider — a Goldsmith, a Blake, or a Keats. By the twentieth century, poets like Apollionaire, Alfred Jarry, Max Jacob, in the company of Braque, Pablo Picasso, Vlaminck and others, constitute a kind of independent riff-raff, a classless bohemia that represents the life of poetry as most people now conceive it. These poets form in groups, edit magazines, create new movements in literature. In Canada, such bohemian groups foregathered in Montréal in the early 1940’s, around the magazines First Statement and Preview, in Vancouver in the 1960’s around the magazine TISH, in Toronto around Anansi Press and Coach House Press, later again in Montréal around the Véhicule Gallery and around Hexagone and Liberté. Without these groups we would have had no modern poetry, we would be stuck with the maple leaf tradition of Carman and Roberts or Crémazie and Fréchette; we would not have looked at the chaos and terror of twentieth-century life. Glancing back at this long history I would say that the life of poetry (if there is one) had been long suppressed, subjugated, effectively denied by the powers and caretakers of social order, and that it has only in recent times shaken off these restraints and begun to appear in its true character. But that is not necessarily a happy development. The meaning of poetry, as a theory of life, has never been very well understood.

Plato is often maligned for expelling the poets from his ideal state (Book X of the Republic), but the full implications of his reasons have not been explored. “They water the passions,” he said of the poets; and they are trapped in the mere world of appearances. Their emotions go surging forward into the real, turning everything topsy-turvy: they are a principal of social disorder. But why so? There is the fixed world as it is and there is the order of society as those who rule would want it. What is poetry? It is imagination — it is all that can be imagined other than this. Throughout history, man has used his mind less to perceive the world as it is, than to imagine it as it might be. The imagination deals with a vastly greater hypothetical universe than the one which actually exists; it explores the realm of possibility, so that it enlarges and extends our conception of reality. Therefore it is called creative. It brings into being new worlds of possibility. The lives of poets, those anarchic bohemians who have come out of the life of conformity into complete self-realization are often tragic, short, and even nasty. Byron, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac — and many, many more, most of them unknown and forgotten — tell us that all possibility can be just too much for the human creature. The lives of the Beats and the flower children of the sixties, now wilted and withered, mark the road of total imaginative freedom as one of desolation or catastrophe. If you think about it, the lives of most poets show the life of poetry repressed and contained, while some other role assumes the foreground. T.S. Eliot’s life as a publisher served as the safe cover for his troubled, eccentric inner life. Ezra Pound, meanwhile, lived out the life of a poet to the full, and he paid the price for it in his later imprisonment and

silence. It seems obvious that poets do not live fully at the level of the poetry they envision. If they did, the result might be catastrophic, both for themselves and others. It is actually one of the current theories of literature that the living of art is its true test, so that the final step in the process is a kind of life rather than art. But this only brings us to the crux of a gross confusion of life and art, and its results are usually chaotic and futile. Poetry is not to be lived out literally, it is to be contemplated and experienced passionately for its possible uses in good time. This is not to say that it does not affect life. It does, profoundly; but it does so by a kind of osmosis, entering slowly into the complex mixture of individual lives. Art is an image held in the mind, telling us what is happening, what might happen, as in a dream or a nightmare. But only a fool, or a fanatic, would rush out of his nightmare or his dream to act out the prophecies he has seen. So the poet walks with hooded eyes, musing on his images, but doing nothing as a rule. The life of poetry is inward and hypothetical, it is not practical or active. When it is, both poetry and the poet suffer. For this article in its unabridged form, please see Scrivener Creative Review, Volume 1, Number 1.

Dudek 11

For book historians, paratextual features are key to deciphering how readers and owners used specific books and in determining their value as objects. From medieval manuscripts to Louis Dudek’s personal collection of books (held at McGill University’s Special Collections in the McLennan Library), one can find comments, definitions and notes in the margins that assist in reading. Dudek’s marginalia are invaluable for understanding particular texts and their significance to Canada’s literary frontier. Dudek adds, for instance, explanatory notes to his copy of Neil H. Fisher’s First Statement, 1942-1945 (1974) about his experience as a member of the editorial board of the First Statement journal. These notes correct and clarify the chronology of events, giving the reader a fascinating insight into one of Canada’s most important literary magazines. Nevertheless, sometimes notes are left that are difficult to interpret, as their relation to the text is uncertain. This could be because the marks and notes are personal, making sense to an individual reader, or perhaps because they are unrelated to the text. Dudek’s collection offers a plethora of caustic comments that poke fun at the author and, sometimes, his or her intended audience. What these sarcastic comments are supposed to add to the text is, and will forever be, obscure, but an investigation of their content and context reveals much about Dudek’s approach to reading and criticism. The Dudek collection is an invaluable resource, each book and marginal comment revealing something about the opinions and significance of one of Canada’s most influential twentieth-century critics. These notes turn otherwise mass-produced books into unique objects that need to be analysed as such. Each display their own unique traces of the history of the text and, of course, Louis Dudek as reader.


The title of this article, “2 + 2 = 4”, is taken from a marginal comment in Dudek’s copy of Postwar Polish Poetry: An Anthology, edited by Czesław Miłosz (1965). This volume contains translations of Polish authors that experienced the hardships of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Of particular interest for Dudek, judging from the placement and intensity of his marginalia, is Tadeusz Różewicz’s W środku życia, translated in this volume as In the Middle of Life. Różewicz spent the beginning of World War II in Radomsko, which was then under German occupation. He worked as a labourer at the beginning of the war and from 1943 onward was a member of the Home Army (the dominant Polish resistance movement). In the Middle of Life reflects on Różewicz’s experiences and apathy towards the poetic in a post-Holocaust world. Różewicz wrote what is commonly referred to as “antipoetry”, celebrating the mundane and finding significance in objects as opposed to ideas. He prophesised the death of poetry in the vein of Theodore Adorno’s now infamous comment: “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben ist barbarisch” [It is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz] (see Hofmann, 2005). Ultimately, Różewicz wanted poetry to die and resurrect in a form that gave due reverence to the horror and tragedy of ethnic cleansing. Dudek’s note that “2 + 2 = 4” appears on page 86, next to the lines: “on the table are lying bread a knife [sic] / the knife serves to cut the bread / people nourish themselves with bread” and ostensibly serves to mock the author’s precise, pedantic description. In making this dry comment, Dudek neglects (whether wilfully or not) two contexts of the passage. The first is the nature of the translation. In the original Polish the lines flow with a more poetic cadence: “na stole leży chleb nóż / nóż służy do krajania chleba / chlebem karmią się


ludzie”. Here, the phrase “na stole leży” are connected with a dissonance to the next line “nóż służy”, and again on the third line, “się ludzie”. The same technique is signalled by “chleb nóż”, “krajania chleba” and “chlebem karmią”. It is of course not possible to reproduce these repetitious sounds and forms in a non-Slavic, uninflected language. Perhaps this is the fault of the translator, or perhaps Dudek’s wit lacks the due courtesy of one reading a translation. Still, the original Polish does not appear in the volume and so it is hardly fair to criticise Dudek. The second consideration to note, is Różewicz’s poetic form and ideology. The lines are supposed to reflect the mundane and overtly simple. This is part of his aim to treat everyday objects in a so-called “anti-poetic” manner. Dudek was, in fact, aware of this aim, as is evidenced in the flyleaf of the volume, where he states:

Patrick Outhwaite

opposed to this approach, as he was particularly sceptical of the Frankfurt School. Taking into account these two contexts, of translation and the “anti-poetic”, Dudek’s “2 + 2 = 4” marginal comment appears particularly acerbic. Still, the question remains as to who this comment is for, and what is its purpose? Indeed, the gloss is preserved in Dudek’s personal copy of this book, and not, for example, a book review intended for the general public. Turning to other books in Dudek’s collection, the purpose of his marginalia is more apparent. One of Dudek’s great loves was chess, and one can find a great many tomes devoted to the subject in his collection. Many of these books display the signs of Dudek’s love; the pages tattered, curled and stained from intense and repeated reading. Littered throughout these books are Dudek’s notes and observations—for example, the excited comment, “Fantastic”, next to a game that catches his interest (as pictured, Chernev, 1968, 142).

Fig. 2. “Fantastic” Fig. 1. “genocide, war / plague, volcanic eruptions, / earthquakes contribute nothing to poetry – they certainly do not make it irrelevant”.

Whilst Dudek is reductive in characterising Różewicz’s position – as Różewicz did not claim that poetry was made “irrelevant” – the gloss does engage with his post-Holocaust antipoetic turn. Dudek’s poetic ideology was

Often, he adds questions and thoughts to particular moves, thoughts to which he returns and annotates (235). He even expresses his disappointment that the book lacks information on the Austrian chess master Carl Schlechter (1874-1918): “Not a single Schlechter game in this book!” (39). Dudek’s exclamation is not a note to himself for when he flicks through

Outhwaite 13

the work in the future, but apparently a direct complaint to the author. Dudek seems to be operating in the mode of critic in these marginal notes, both registering his opinions and reactions, but with an eye to future readers (even if he is not publishing his critiques in these particular cases). The exclamation is a remnant of his passion for chess, which spills onto the page and into the margins. Understanding Dudek’s propensity to have conversations with the written word is essential for studying his marginalia. In his copy of The Little Magazine in America, edited by Elliott Anderson and Mary Kinzie (1978), Dudek is particularly critical of certain authors and publications. One victim of his dry wit is Wolfgang Paalen’s DYN, a short-lived surrealist art magazine that produced six issues between 1942 and 1944. Dudek writes:

Fig. 3. “Not been heard of since.” (Anderson and Kinzie 382).

Whilst it is true that the magazine folded after its sixth issue, it is clear that Dudek adds this comment to revel in its failure. Indeed, the statement is clearly not intended as a reminder for his future self when thumbing through the volume, as the text gives the start and end dates of the publication. The ideology of DYN ran contrary to Dudek’s own more reserved approach to art and literature. It is in this same caustic tone that Dudek writes his “2 + 2 = 4” marginal comment to Tadeusz Różewicz’s In the Middle of Life. What may seem to be notes intended for personal use and reference are crafted with an eye to other potential readers, as if someone is “looking over one’s shoulder”. If one gains some level of fame or reputation, anything one


writes, even marginal notes, may be crafted with a kind of self-consciousness (Alaszewski, 2006, 19-21). Dudek’s “2 + 2 = 4” comment does not question the author or add relevant supplementary information, but, like many other glosses in his collection, acerbically mocks the text. This is indeed what makes Dudek’s collection such a fascinating artefact. Flicking through his volumes, Dudek’s personality and sense of humour bursts forth from the margins. Whilst some of his marginalia may appear to be overly-critical, they all retain fragments of his dry and sharp wit. Whether one appreciates his wit or finds it abrasive, Dudek’s collection is engrossing, revealing and well worth a visit. Bibliography From the Dudek Collection Anderson, Elliott, and Kinzie, Mary, (ed.), The Little Magazine in America: A Modern Documentary History (Yonkers, NY.: Pushcart, 1978). Chernev, Irving, The Chess Companion: A Merry Collection of Tales of Chess and its Players, together with a Cornucopia of Games, Problems, Epigrams & Advice, \ topped off with the Greatest Game of Chess Ever Played (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968). Fisher, Neil H., First Statement, 1942-1945: An Assessment and an Index (Ottawa: Golden Dog Press, 1974). Miłosz, Czesław, (ed.), Postwar Polish Poetry: An Anthology (Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press, 1965). Stevens, Peter, (ed.), The McGill Movement, Critical Views on Canadian Writers 2 (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1969). Secondary Literature Alaszewski, Andy, Using Diaries for Social Research (London: SAGE, 2006). Hofmann, Klaus, “Poetry after Auschwitz–Adorno’s Dictum,” German Life and Letters 58, 2 (2005): 182-94. Kloyber, Christian, (ed.), Wolfgang Paalen’s DYN: The Complete Reprint (Vienna and New York: Springer, 2000).

A Marginal Interlude with

Louis Dudek

Perhaps the most infamous case of Dudek’s marginalia, taken from page 39 of Margaret Atwood’s The Circle Game. Should you wish to examine this copy for yourself, it can be located in Rare Books and Special Collections, McLennan-Redpath Library, McGill University, call number PS8503 I7 A6 1948.

Dudek 15

Rare Books and Special Collections at McGill University’s McLennan-Redpath Library is a treasure chest of ink stains, fingerprints, jotnotes, and keystrokes left by some of Canada’s most illustrious literary figures. Rare Books’ extensive Louis Dudek Collection preserves his annotated library, which includes his own published works as well as a rich miscellany of volumes by others. It is therefore unsurprising that Dudek, a prolific Canadian poet, would own multiple copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Circle Game, Atwood’s second collection of poems, one which earned her the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1967. In one particular copy of The Circle Game, Dudek uses marginalia to creep in and take issue with Atwood’s female poetic perspective. In the beginning stanzas of the fourth section of the collection’s titular poem, Dudek, otherwise complacent before this point, begins to heckle at Atwood from the sidelines: “bitch psychology: He—why is he doing this to me? (No male ever thinks like this).” Beneath this invective, Dudek goes on: “As if the problems of the woman were all created by man.” Strangely enough, the poem’s speaker has yet to directly invoke a “he” subject, the supposed “man” at the center of Dudek’s complaint. The speaker begins the section by describing the intimate space of a room, which encapsulates a “you” and an “I.” Admittedly, the speaker reveals this relationship to be a tense one; the speaker claims that: all your wordplays, calculated ploys of the body, the witticisms of touch, are now attempts to keep me at a certain distance (1-6)

However, the gender roles of the speaker and subject are as yet undetermined. Perhaps Atwood’s speaker in this section is not even


commenting on a gendered relationship at all, but instead personifying and damning modernism for its distancing of human emotion from experience. Regardless, Dudek’s annotations convey that such a claim makes the speaker a “bitch.” By thrusting a “he” and a “she” into Atwood’s poetry, Dudek virtually projects himself from sidelines to centrality, from reader to co-author. When one digests Dudek’s marginalia in tandem with Atwood’s poem, one cannot help but protest: “Dudek— why is Dudek doing this to Atwood?” Dudek’s presumptive annotations can also be read as a trace of the modernist poetry movement’s tendency towards boys-club exclusivity. Dudek’s circle, The McGill Group, was indeed a collective of mostly male, mostly modernist poets. For poets like Dudek, A. M. Klein, Irving Layton, and F. R. Scott, modernism meant abjuring the frills, formulae, and femininity of Confederation poetics in favour of the more symbolic, cerebral, masculine verse incarnated by expatriate poets, such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. In his infamous poetic invective against the unabashedly imperialist Canadian Authors Association, “The Canadian Authors Meet,” F. R. Scott derides an imaginary “Miss Crotchet” whose “muse has somehow failed to function, / Yet she’s a poetess” (3-4). So, if not for Victorianists, is there room for female, Canadian modernists at the table? “Not if they’re complaining,” Dudek’s comments on Atwood seem to suggest. For twenty-first-century readers, Dudek’s marginal summations of Atwood’s “The Circle Game”—which he may have added in a first reading soon after the collection’s publication in 1966 or in later readings (indicated by dated to-do list bookmarks) in 1978 or 1981 —are paradoxically insulting and inspiring. Although Dudek’s comments suggest disregard for female affect in poetic production,

—Dudek on Atwood


Lilika Kukiela

he equally affirms the fact that, in “The Circle Game,” Atwood has reclaimed the female complaint and, to invoke Pound, made it new. In The Female Complaint, Lauren Berlant traces the history of the female complaint as a genre that defends the value of women’s affective experience in literature and society. Berlant explains: [Female complaints] foreground witnessing and explaining women’s disappointment in the tenuous relation of romantic fantasy to lived intimacy. Critical, they are also sentimental, and therefore ambivalent: they trust affective knowledge and irrational assurance more than the truths of any ideology; they associate femininity with the pleasures, burdens, and virtues of emotional expertise and track its methods in different situations; they focus on the sacrifice of women’s emotional labor to a variety of kinds of callousness, incompetence, and structural inequity; they catalog strategies of bargaining, adaptation, and flouting the rules. (1-2)

Although Dudek writes in the margins of a woman’s poetry, women are in the margins of literary production; their labour and product are at once negated and essential. Furthermore, if the female complaint is as critical, sentimental, and ambivalent as Berlant proclaims, then Dudek’s arguably derogatory claim, “as if the problems of the woman were all created by man,” can be read as a serious and accurate conclusion. While pioneering female artists, like Atwood, undoubtedly were and are accustomed to under-evaluations of their work as mere “bitch psychology,” contemporary readers and cultural producers can reclaim “bitch psychology” as an art of powerful and sensitive, beautiful and nasty complaint. As the following figure shows, in the flyleaves of his copy of The Circle Game, Dudek anatomizes Atwood’s poetics:

Fig. 1. “laconic commentary,” “prose,” “nag nag nag,” “verbatim what goes on in a discontented woman’s head.”

Like an unrequited lover, Dudek blazons Atwood as a woman he has solved, and therefore does not wish to court further. He continues: “In any case, prose is the real outlet for this kind of resentment toward the world.” He may not be wrong. Atwood is perhaps at her best in her many novels, short-fiction collections, and essays. Despite Dudek’s attempted interference, Atwood has also written twelve poetry collections since The Circle Game. To offer an annotation to Dudek, the real outlet for Atwood’s kind of intellect is whatever lanes of literary and cultural production she chooses. A woman’s intellect may encompass resentment, nagging, and a laconic personality—and refiguring Dudek’s marginalia of Atwood proves that there is veneration in being a bitch. Works Cited Atwood, Margaret. “The Circle Game,” The Circle Game (Toronto: Contact Press, 1966): pp. 35-44. Copy examined: McGill University Library, Louis Dudek Collection, PS8501 T82 C5 1966. Berlant, Lauren. The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture (Durham: Duke UP, 2008). Scott, F.R. “The Canadian Authors Meet,” Overture (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1945): p. 37.

Kukiela 17

Louis Dudek began teaching “Great Writings of Europe,” a two-year course, shortly after arriving at McGill in 1951. Inspired by the “Great Books” course at Columbia, the course featured European literature of the past three centuries.

Dudek observed of teaching at McGill: … I had something very important to teach … in fact two things. The first was modern poetry and literature, which had evolved fully abroad but which had barely started in Canada with small groups of poets having a limited audience.... The second program was the massive movement of European literature and thought since the 18th century, with its profound practical implications, which students’ minds had still to experience. (qtd. in Wisse, “My Life Without Leonard Cohen”)

MH: Where are you now in your ongoing work on Louis Dudek and McGill? The legend still haunts the halls about Dudek’s “knighting” Leonard Cohen in the Arts building, when Cohen was an undergraduate in English at McGill. KS: Yes! That’s such a symbolic moment for Cohen’s career. It’s also more broadly symbolic of the conferral of status by a senior writer on an apprentice writer, at a time when Creative Writing degrees didn’t yet exist anywhere in Canada to do that work. Recently I’ve been piecing together new research on Dudek’s creative-writing pedagogy in the English literature classroom—from different iterations of his syllabi, an essay he writes on pedagogy, and what I can gather from correspondence. In letters between Dudek and poet Ezra Pound (which I’ve been researching to bring out a new edition), one letter strikes me especially. Here Dudek observes that as he’s teaching at McGill, he’s often “sneaking in work” on


modernism that’s not on the syllabus. What this brings out is the gap between what’s registered “on the books” for a course and what actually happens in a classroom. As Dudek writes to Pound, “Fenollosa has been read—though he cannot go on the readings lists [sic]… has been read to two hundred and twenty-five students at this Canadian university: gists and piths have been read, to groups of 75 at a time.” He’s referring to Ernest Fenollosa, whose work, especially “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry” Pound sought to promote. MH: Why depart from the syllabus so radically? What does this suggest? KS: I’m imagining this might mean that when Dudek began teaching at McGill in 1951, the English Department was quite conservative, especially when it came to adding contemporary writing by living writers, which Dudek sought to do. His letters to Pound at that time suggest he felt he had to hew to certain assumptions in devising the syllabus for the course; and that it was safest to thread in deviations from those assumptions in class, when working ‘live” with students. MH: What’s interesting is what seems to be his commitment to doing so – he seems to relish it. KS: Yes – this is where I find signs of what I call radical modernist pedagogy. MH: As you’ve tried to reconstruct his pedagogy, what have you discovered about the beloved course Dudek taught at McGill for many years, “Great Writings of Europe,” still taught today in the English Department? You’ve mentioned that this course influenced Leonard Cohen’s formation.

—Louis Dudek at McGill

An interview with Karis Shearer

KS: Yes, Cohen took this course, and biographers like Ira Nadel have noted its impact on him—though it’s not clear how often he actually attended…. MH: Perhaps he missed Fenollosa and the modernist deviations.… KS: Right, though evidently he got the Nietzsche, whose influence scholars like Kait Pinder (McGill PhD ’16) have noted in Cohen’s Beautiful Losers …. The “Great Writings” course Dudek devised from the “Great Books” course being taught at Columbia, where Dudek did his graduate work. MH: Where he worked with Lionel Trilling – perhaps why Matthew Arnold enters Dudek’s thinking so much…. KS: Exactly…. There’s a colossal recommended reading list, offering, Dudek says, “not limits but suggestions,” consisting of 143 titled works—poems, stories, prefaces, works of criticism—and 29 writers. The course, amazingly, was four terms long, extending over two years. He calls it, strikingly, “A study of the subversive currents in modern thought.” MH: This makes me think of what I know Dudek went to Pound for—often for non-traditional thought about the concept of “civilization.” How might this relate to Cohen? KS: In his letters, Dudek emphasizes that with his teaching, he’s seeking to form writers, not scholars. He’s looking for a hybrid of the critical and creative—and Cohen certainly fits here. For me, Dudek’s approach to teaching in the 1950s has been a cue to look to the 1940s to 1960s in Canada, to think about what poet-professors were doing to foster creative


Miranda Hickman

work by students within English departments. I think there’s been a sense that McGill is somehow behind the curve because it never established a Creative Writing department. But historically, the department was actually far ahead of the curve in that regard. It established the first undergraduate workshop in Creative Writing in Canada in 1940 (tied with U of T, where Earle Birney established one the same year). McGill’s English Department also created one of the first prizes for undergraduate creative writing in 1943. I think the model of creative writing at McGill was seen as complementary to training in literary studies in English: the idea was that one became a writer through close study of literature—and through opportunities to write creatively in the form of projects and MA theses recognized by the English department. That’s really not true of how Creative Writing programs developed elsewhere—where the writing was generally hived off from the study and theorization of literary texts. But for Dudek, that relationship between literary study and creative production was essential. For example, he held a final exam covering poetics in a one senior-level creative writing course. For me, Dudek’s pedagogy— his vision for “Great Writings of Europe” and for “Modern Poetry”—is important right now, because it invites us to historicize and reevaluate the relationship between the disciplines of creative writing and English.

Works Cited Wisse, Ruth R. “My Life Without Leonard Cohen,” Commentary, October, 1995. (https://www.commentary

Hickman 19

In the early 1950s, the undergraduate student population of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of McGill University included, among the usual mix of would-be writers and creative types, several individuals who would go on to significant literary careers. They made their intellectual and spiritual home mainly in the English Department which, being traditional and scholarly, was little interested in students given over to a newly-described activity called “creative writing.” But, the traditionalists notwithstanding, if one doubts the power of tradition all one has to do is to recall the Chair of the English Department, Professor George Ian Duthie, a Shakespearean scholar who had been recruited in England by McGill’s Principal, F. Cyril James, and who in Oxbridge fashion lectured in his black academic gown. I remember him as a small, bird-like man with sharp features and dark hair pasted down on his head, but he was a clear and incisive lecturer, and he knew his Shakespeare down to the last comma, which earned him the Regius Professorship at, I believe, the University of Aberdeen. However, tradition or not, the English Department also harboured several individuals who had established reputations as published writers whose presence encouraged the young and upcoming scribblers, and whose efforts were appearing in the pages of the student literary magazine called Forge as well as in the pages of The McGill Daily. It is likely that no other university in Canada could boast quite such an impressive contingent of authors as well as those who worked hard to legitimize the teaching within the English Department of what the traditionalists liked to say was the unteachable craft of creative writing. There was Hugh MacLennan with the successes of Barometer Rising and Two Solitudes under his belt; and Constance Beresford-Howe who had published her first novel at twenty-two with a big-name Ameri-


can publisher; and there was Louis Dudek who was a leading figure in the poetry avant-garde and was editing the pioneer little magazine Contact and would soon partner with Irving Layton and Ray Souster in establishing the influential little press Contact. There was also Frank Scott, constitutional lawyer – not quite English Department but an iconic figure in the beginnings of Canadian modernism in poetry. Added to this group was Harold Files, an expatriate American academic who was, off and on, Chairman of the English Department. He was a strong believer in creative writing, and was, I understand, instrumental in bringing Dudek to McGill after the near scandalous departure of the recently arrived British poet Patrick Anderson (there is a rich story to be told there!). Files was seconded in his sponsorship of the “creative” by Arthur L. Phelps, author of the pioneer study called Canadian Writers (1951), who had also published some verse in his early days and was an outspoken advocate of a national Canadian culture. Thus an environment of influences and mentoring which could not help but act as a powerful stimulus for the usual undergraduate mix of writers, poets and graphic artists who milled about the McGill campus and, on occasion, gathered at some of the drinking spots within walking distance of the university. These were usually taverns where women (much to our chagrin) were not admitted in those days, and where two ten ounce glasses of beer could be had for a quarter, and where there was, usually as much talk about the Montreal Canadiens as about poetry. Arthur Phelps was a kind of elder statesman in the group of creative gurus and/or mentors at McGill. He was quite a character in that he was deeply committed to the promotion of Canadian culture and identity and, I believe, chafed under the traditionalist attitudes of the English Department. He had known and

by corresponded with several of the older Canadian writers such as E.J. Pratt and Frederick Philip Grove, and must have been unhappy that the department did not formally teach Canadian Literature other than tacking on at the tail end of English 100 a couple of weeks of omnibus lectures on CanLit by Phelps. This is not quite accurate. The Department had at least one course in Canadian Literature listed in the calendar. This was a course consisting of a first semester on Canadian poetry taught by Louis Dudek and a half course in the second semester on Canadian prose taught by Hugh MacLennan. The issue for Phelps was that this course could not count towards an honours degree in English. Phelps was an unconventional character who had come to academic life reportedly through broadcast journalism. He had a Leacockian fondness for small Ontario towns, Bobcaygeon being his Orillia. I do not know that he took anyone under his wing, but his crabby presence was always generally stimulating for the student body. Others of that mentoring coterie had more meaningful and helpful relations with young and upcoming writers on campus. McGill had its usual budding versifiers and journalists among the student population, but there were several who were clearly a cut above the average, and these benefited from interaction and friendships with established writers. Thus MacLennan guided and encouraged Marian Engel, Constance Beresford-Howe had her own followers and Louis Dudek acted more decisively by creating the McGill Poetry Series which served as a springboard for at least three young poets who went on to transcend campus life and carve out careers in the wider literary world. After graduating from McGill, Daryl Hine, who owed much spiritually to the Toronto poet Jay Macpherson, and who had published the slimmest of slim chap books, Five Poems in 1954, would go on to become the editor of

Michael Gnarowski

the iconic modernist poetry magazine Poetry Chicago. Hine was number two in Dudek’s McGill Poetry Series with The Carnal and the Crane (1957). He had been one of the really promising young poets on campus. There was also George Ellenbogen whose collection of poems, Winds of Unreason (1957), became part of the Series. Ellenbogen went on to acquire the necessary academic qualifications to teach creative writing at Bentley College and to publish half a dozen collections of poetry, as well as A Stone in my Shoe: In Search of Neighbourhood (2013) in which he recalls growing up in what was at one time the Jewish neighbourhood of Montreal. There was also Harold Files who exercised his influence through the medium of creative writing MAs, encouraging his students to submit manuscripts of short stories or novels for their degrees. One of his students was Abe Ram who, quite a bit later after receiving his creative writing MA went on to teach creative writing at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia). There, in the 1970s, he would publish three short novels, The Noise of Singing (1975), Dark of Caves (1977) and Once in Woods (1982) based on his own Jewish background and life in the Montreal community, and edited an annual anthology, Outset, which featured the best work of his students. However, hovering over these achievements was the remarkable (now near legendary) success of Leonard Cohen. Very soon after his arrival on campus, Cohen was noticed by those with literary inclinations as not just another campus versifier but as someone of unusual imagination and original verbal skills. He read his poems at meetings of the McGill Literary Society (known as LitSoc), had, I believe, some published in The McGill Daily and Forge, the student literary mag, and attended the classes

Gnarowski 21

of Louis Dudek at which he appeared, on occasion, with his guitar that was carefully stood against the wall of the classroom. The presence of the guitar had its own effect which was not lost on Leonard’s fellow students. It is probably fair to say that even early on Cohen understood the dramatic potential in something as low key as the average poetry reading. Perhaps he learned this from Irving Layton who had encouraged and supported him, and who read his own poems in public with great gusto and physical swagger. It was surely not from Louis Dudek, whose poems did not lend themselves to any kind of verbal bravado, but were quiet, intellectual challenges. Be that as it may, Cohen, who had also been a member of a band of adolescent musicians who called themselves “The Buckskin Boys,” while still in high school began to refine the possibility of marrying poems to music. This was very much in the air at that time with a popular fusion of jazz and poetry which was pioneered on the American west coast and which made the reading of poetry combined with music frequently performed acts in then popular coffee bars and drinking hangouts. The name of the American poet Kenneth Patchen comes instantly to mind as one of the truly successful performers in this new hybrid art. Cohen who by the mid-1950s was already writing poems that were richly suggestive of emotion and a sense of loss, soon effected a significant transition from word as accompanied by music to word as part of music; and since Cohen was neither an accomplished guitarist nor did he possess a good singing voice, Cohen blended the strength of the content of his poems with a just adequate musical accompaniment to create a surprisingly effective lyrical mix. All of this, of course, was prefaced, and to some extent made possible, by the publication of Cohen’s first collection of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), which was chosen by Louis Dudek to usher in his newly launched McGill Poetry


Series. Cohen was recognised as an important new voice in Canadian poetry, and there was a watershed quality to his appearance on the scene. This was the middle of the twentieth century, a time when the great modernists had had their say and the way was open for a new generation of writers, and lurking around the corner, perhaps a scant ten years away was the new movement of Post-Modernism. Cohen was not a true Post-Modernist, except perhaps with the writing of Beautiful Losers (1966), but he was the inheritor of the advances and break throughs made by that interim generation more closely identified in the popular reader’s mind with Jack Kerouac’s “on the road” generation; California’s City Lights Bookshop and the generous, welcoming and loving sentiments of the universe of hippie-dom with its guitars, bongo drums, whiffs of cannabis, flashing psychedelic lights, but also with the angry, raucous warning voice of the likes of Allen Ginsberg in the background. It is worth noting that the 1950s, while they signalled a major shift in literature (the Beat Movement), also witnessed a rejection of what had been an innocent, cheerful and optimistic America which was subject not only to Ginsberg’s accusatory vehemence, but also to the implicit criticism of a younger generation declaring its alienation, and dropping out of a way of life that had become a symbol of a self-satisfied ethos of North America. But perhaps the society and its way of life that was being so radically rejected had a right to a certain optimism if not complacency. Had they not fought and won a war against the bestial aberration in German history that had inflicted the Nazis on the world. So in their mood of optimism they believed in the ideal of a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. They had a genuine sense of values, were believers, sang songs like “Winchester Cathedral” and “Walking my Baby Back Home”, and supported the United Nations and foreign aid. In short, the man in

the gray flannel suit, and hence society, could feel reassured. Life was good and this despite its warts: alcoholism (the Martini, frequently in excess, became a staple business lunch drink), poor race relations, the Cold War and a weaponised atom. Cohen’s advantage would be in that he was a genuine poet who knew his way around words and ideas unlike many of his contemporary singer artists who strummed their guitars and tried to make songs out of recycled versicles. In the early months of 1956, as we (John Lachs, Glen Siebrasse and Michael Gnarowski) were assembling the contents of the first issue of our little magazine Yes, and Dudek, who had encouraged us and urged us on in what we may have seen as a rash initiative, was preparing to publish the first collection in his McGill Poetry Series, Cohen came to us with the suggestion that we consider doing a review of his Let Us Compare Mythologies, which was in preparation and in page proofs at that time. We agreed readily and thus I came to write the first review anywhere of a Leonard Cohen book. I wrote what I believe was a strong and positive review which ended with “... he [Cohen] speaks with a careful and peculiar cogency which compels us to attention and thought.” Written from page proofs, the review appeared in our first issue of April 1956. We had started Yes in a curious way. Not entirely happy with what was available as outlets for new poems on the McGill campus, and casting our eye on the general national landscape we felt that things looked pretty bleak in late 1955. Ray Souster had closed down Contact (the little magazine) in 1954, and John Sutherland’s Northern Review was on its last legs. Some twenty years later when Leonard was a world renowned star, I would complain, perhaps unjustly, that he had chosen as his venue the sandbox of popular culture. Unjustly? Not quite. Observing Leonard in the late 1960s and early 1970s we saw a firm and definite move

on his part away from the world of “writer-hood” to a life of concerts and the stage which, perforce, dictated a special kind of poetics. His last serious piece of writing had been the enigmatic Beautiful Losers (1966), a work some of us saw as the beginning of Canadian Post-Modernism. The singing and the carefully staged performances were a very different kind of thing. The Leonard Cohen whom some of us saw as the promise of the new generation of poets had opted for the art of “poemics” as a public act. From 1970 onwards Leonard immersed himself in a gruelling schedule of public events in Europe and North America. There were concerts, festivals and readings which must have been exhausting even though Cohen thrived on them. Was this the new poetry? I recall standing with Louis Dudek and Glen Siebrasse on the corner of McTavish and Sherbrooke Streets in Montreal one cold December afternoon in 1964, and staring gloomily towards the Mansfield Book Mart where quieter and more conventional poetry readings took place, and saying to Glen and Louis, “Now that the C.A.A. has been beaten, who is the new enemy?” That weekend we met for dinner at a Russian Restaurant, The Troika and founded Delta Canada. Present were Dudek and Siebrasse, Ron Everson and Colin Haworth, a creative artist and associate of Everson, and myself. The search for the new poetry had begun anew. Not long after he had published Cohen’s Let Us Compare Mythologies, Louis Dudek received a phone call from either the manager or the owner of what was then frequently called a night club, asking him if he would be interested in doing a reading at the club. This club has been identified as The Birdland, although one recalls it as a second floor establishment above Dunn’s Delicatessen on Saint Catherine Street

Gnarowski 23

almost where it meets McGill College Avenue and not to be confused with the Blue Bird which was on University Avenue and had on its wall in neon lights the oracular pronouncement “Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker”! The Birdland (let’s call it that) was a relatively run-of-the-mill night spot which, for entertainment, featured what it liked to advertise on a glass-encased bill-board mounted at the ground floor entrance as The Sepia Revue, a bevy of dark skinned young women who danced in very little clothing to the music of a three piece band consisting, I believe, of a piano, a bass and drums. Whether they were a true jazz combo as had been defined and perfected in the clubs of San Francisco it is difficult to say, but the approach to Louis Dudek envisaged an accompaniment by this band to the reading of his poems. In spite of misgivings (Dudek was not much into the theatrics of poetry readings) he accepted and went one weekend evening to read his poems. Needless to say this was not a success. Dudek’s low key, cerebral poems were not meant for a night club environment, but, bravely, he suggested that he knew someone who was more at home with the notion of a poetry reading as performance art. Thus Leonard Cohen stepped onto the stage – one small step for him but the beginning of a life time of spectacularly successful (and professionally orchestrated) concerts for mankind. Parted from the university setting, Leonard began to create and project his persona. He took a flat in an Edwardian row house building in the short-lived student ghetto on Stanley Street, from the third-floor tiny balcony of which he played his guitar and sang to surprised passers by. There was also, somewhat later, a vinyl recording of Leonard reading his poems on a Folkways record where he appeared in the company of some senior Canadian poets like Dudek, Scott, Smith and Layton. However and in general what followed in Leonard’s life, was a series of attempts at


something like a job or a career. He had a go at factory work in the garment and scrap metal business; he had a stab at Law School at McGill and Columbia universities, but his footsteps were on the road to London and the Greek islands and the authorship of books and public appearances. Bohemianism of the times may have seemed attractive but the real Leonard was a serious writer and concert artist... fedora and all. In 1954, Dudek published Europe, a meditative book-length poem in which he sought to locate himself in the larger tapestry of European civilization with Emery Neff and Ezra Pound lurking in the anterooms of his mind. He could look back with some satisfaction when he had published two, slim, chap-book size but still satisfying collections of poems, The Searching Image (1952) and Twenty-Four Poems (1952) and, more importantly on his co-operative effort with Irving Layton, which had produced a ground-breaking anthology, Canadian Poems 1850-1952 (1952 & 1953) – ground-breaking because they shifted the focus to Canadian poetry of relevance and social concerns. Dudek was gearing up for what would become a struggle with Northrop Frye and the advocates of mythopoeia. Leonard Cohen graduated in 1955 and others of that McGill cohort of the early 1950s began to graduate and disperse to graduate schools elsewhere and careers in the “real” world. Dudek stuck with the quixotically independent world of little magazines and little presses, carrying on an on-going conversation with newly arriving generations of students and a sharp-minded readership that would continue to be challenged and fascinated by his “epigramatics”.

Gnarowski 25

Louis Dudek McGill Campus A green evening soft snow, a mist, immortal rain. . . Below the skyscraper seems to hang in the air.


For You, You For you, you, whoever, wherever you are in time to come, in a year or fifty— who have grabbed me, found me on the cluttered bookstall and gone, book clutched in your hand, or stuffed in pocket, to the near café or steaming snack bar and over the pie and coffee opened up the pages— for you, quiet girl, young man, in the youth of your life, who read some pieces then turn to your own thoughts, your emotions and write your own eight lines, or fifty— yes! yes! I would arouse in you the spectral nerve sweet as sex, for this craft— its breath of life wafted out and recorded that it may be such a stir one time, for you.

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Jacques Cartier Bridge An amusement park in the rain and fog, what courage there must be to keep those entertainments alive in a world such as this: the children trotting up to the “scenic railway” like a streak of blood, while rolls of barbed wire covered the lot where the railway rides— shrieking with joy through the field of heaven but where in the end, as in all this world, nothing is human but the music of despair.


The Demolitions

(for John Glassco)

I The biggest name in Montreal these days is Teperman. It stands a yard high, in front of old buildings:

TEPERMAN Demolition Teperman is working hard. I’ve seen the remains of old dilapidated lovely city sections go down in rubble— “No Parking” signs over the lot. And the whole city, including Cathedrals, skyscrapers, the statue of Burns, and our three universities, level like these lots, as they will be... Teperman works fast. What does he care whether any building we want to stand for eternity goes? His business is DEMOLITION and swinging metal balls.


II The block on Stanley (I’ve got to check with the street post) where our bohemia was just commencing and the beatnik gallery burned where Leonard had his rooms (offered in friendship to MM GD and others) where the Riviera coffee house and the tenements and Betty’s “Tailor” had their domicile where Sutherland set up the First Statement and we read the poem by Souster, in manuscript, “The Groundhog” and Madame No-wee-jee-ess-ka carried on.... So picturesque so picaresque so European Like the ruins of Warsaw, our only Latin Quarter has been razed to the ground I look at the empty space, and think of all the Hungrians locked out in the world...

Dudek 31

III The new buildings that rise on the rubble in flocks, to the langorous clouds, will stand all night in their stories of light swinging a searchlight to fear but will not remember the slums at the roots of their bones nor the dead who went down on a Stryker frame nor the unfledged young who disappear Lonely for new glory they wait for long leaseholds and the penthouse dwellers, their corridors filled with maidens too simple to love, too ignorant to care.


The Ultimate All that we have left of some ancient poets is what happened to be quoted by this critic or that in a rhetoric book. Bits and pieces. This is the ultimate distillation of a life’s work—what the world knows. And you have no control of it. It’s paltry, a beggar’s mite. Even now the only part of what most readers know of you is what they find quoted by some critic or other to illustrate a flaw.


Marquita Crevier Conversation with a Poet

for Louis Dudek

When I came in he was standing on top of one of his poems chipping away at it with his hammer He said Did you read Pound like I told you I said My mother’s been in a coma for three months and besides I think my marriage is falling through He said that’s the stuff that’s perfect but keep it tight and read some more Pound

Crevier 35

Raymond Souster Poet’s Party The owl (a taxidermist’s dream) looks down very patiently from the wall: at Irving, with thumb leading out at a young contender for his throne; at Avi, alive but still lost after last year’s burial; at Aileen, crouched, terrified deer, eyes turned toward the forest darkness; at Louis, looking up to correct his portrait hanging slightly awry; at Leonard, set to pluck the lament of his soul’s singing soft guitar; at Bob, now expounding his hatred of all things living, dead or dying . . . . Yes, that bird still looks down very patiently from the wall.


A Question

for Paul Blackburn

After ten years, Paul, we should get the story straight once and for all— whose poems did your six cats make the biggest droppings on— (sheafs of them invitingly spread over your bed) Dudek’s yours or mine?

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Noah Zacharin Auditing the Poetry Course—Dudek on Thomas as I was all edge and rattling tin, tension and musk, dense, tightly woven lines and clamorous assonance, all ilk and manner of rhyme; as I was young and breezy then, on the green hills, etcetera, it pained to have inconsistencies pointed out in work I admired. though I’d easily acknowledge my preference for the prose—the poems too dense a thicket for a darling boy to walk through without thistle bite and nettle welt being writ in skin—still I reveled in it. as I was young and pithy then and had not yet fully considered the slope of no return, truth struck me irreverent, scholar in the dark wood and pipe smoke environs, fine words floating at shoulder height— pronouncing. I never returned—such the hubris of the young, or, at any rate, of this young man. did try Act II, knocking on his office door holding a thin sheaf of words, onion skin epée, hoping for aromatic critique. but the show was over, the good Doctor packing up after a life wearing the mantle, moving on to be what he always was: poet. and this he was, until joining the brown furrow— lily white and pale green thumbs up to sun and dew. now, recalling my certainty in all things, I am thankful to be alive: what blessing the rain, the rolling hillside. I do not—yet—rage against the dying of it. but turn to it, to keep pace with the arc of moon along its ecliptic. despite dust and ash, the pipe compels. as I was molten and dense, green tongue and kisses, volcanic at the core, heart festooned in bullseyes and shields, footsteps quicker than their echo. I regret now, not being able to discern value and intent in his words. his dreams did not encompass conversion; yet how grateful I am he tried. things take time. good Doctor, hear me reach for the simple line.


at five I swallowed all the crayons at five I swallowed all the crayons. magenta, emerald, carmine, cobalt, teal, midnight, flesh. all went down easily. genius when I would cry, blow my nose, squat like a neglected sousaphone melting in the heat of high regard. loved all the names. 24 was simple, deep-sixed 96 without effort. each horizon opened to the new. thought was clear as that light burning with vigor and commitment in that hilltop farmhouse solid in the vast. thought was endless, substantial as dark beyond the candle. my eyes might have assumed any blend of color, and yet— chameleon in potential—they were always mine. yes, death was the dark gesso: dragonflies in the chlorinated pool, dry leaves a season later. knives, insulin, glass eye, that room off the kitchen, from which the grandfather, tired after work, never woke. and yet… each laid claim to its own spice from the caravan its own grace note, adjective, accidental in the triad. in shorts, with trusting mouth, on a train towards the tunnel, I sensed no presage to soot and the archway into darkness.


oh mercy on our wings, our rings, all our shiny things. mercy on that blonde boy that first day of school—and through it all. triceratops, each foot the size of an adult man, got stuck in a swirling pigment La Brea, went spiralling down. took so long to understand the lines are not sacred. note how the sky, most commonly at dusk, echoes our finest expectations. at five, I swallowed them all.

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Daydreaming of Matisse all afternoon I have daydreamed of Matisse. his brushstrokes thickened the realm, bestowed upon rueful eyes—mes yeux, cibles pour la noirceur de l’existence— brooding greens and purple shadow like the ichor of fury that froths beneath the good citizen’s civility. my man Henri’s hand touched to empty moments a cosmos of hidden feet and quivering points of antennae, smeared verdant pages I contemplated and longed to understand. even as braver seasons billowed, I remained slow hours of leaden lid in the body of a slug; melancholy, nourishment enough. when foam drew back I found myself, laying beneath silent skies, questioning the word ‘heaven.’ my hands held a bottle of volatile breath and orphan phrases. this I offered up to the sky. in reply: two stars fell. how remarkable they are to have found their place in shifting sand, burning air.

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Daniel Galef Pound & Till -- Pisa, 1945 The madman comes from where I come from, land Of word\less\ness, empire of usury. He boils in the cage next to mine. Faraday And golden-gowned Saint Mary, naked, and The Man in the Newspaper Mask know I am on The saner side from Europe. Now the raft Flips, and the waters fold Ulysses. Gone The cage, gone the mad man, head and haft:— ((Murder and rape, with trimmings)). The White Goddess Un–hinges me. Then, ten years overdue, Four walls, four gates cry open, and the Son Will rise, his corpse mouth twist, the lamb confess. I think he comes from money. Is that true? He seems? The things that men from Money done.


Louise Hill The Poet to Montreal He’s got his name and his verse in the forty-fifth number and they’re launching in Toronto, then Montreal so he takes the train from the former to the latter and as he watches the world bud bright green beside him he thinks that the only right time to ride the train is in winter when the view is white and blue and bleak and honest to you. He thinks about all the great poets who have worked for the CPR, now the VIA, and wonders whether any of the people pouring change into his hands are writing lines about him or, more likely, the girl sitting next to him whose thick red hair is plaited behind her and whose face is dusted with the memory of sunlight. He arrives in Montreal to a cloud of cigarette smoke and patterned skirts and bright, bald sidewalk. He hasn’t booked a hotel so he finds a park and a bench and pretends to read Kafka, but really wonders whether he looks as out of place there as he felt at twenty-three, when he made his pittance writing lines in decent English and serving tables in bad French.

Hill 45

You’ll always miss Montreal if you live anywhere else, a Toronto friend once said, and the only ones who disagreed were the ones who had lived nowhere but Toronto. Killing time wandering familiar streets is both difficult and easy. He ends up in a café and buys a mint tea so he can use their lavatory to dab the sheen off his nose and run a hand through graying curls. You’re okay, kid he tells his reflection. It’s the only refrain of his father’s that he can remember from childhood, first said to him when he skinned his knees running across a parking lot. You’re okay kid always said with such conviction that when a few years later he broke his arm falling out of a tree his father said the same and he almost believed him. The poet’s feet take him to the blue line and off at Jarry and under an overpass to the place he needs to be which from the outside looks like a lighting factory. Everywhere is something else in Montreal, every place contains a den where one can hear poetry read.


The poet finds the den in this one and his hands are filled with other people’s hands and the book he already owns and champagne he can’t drink. He sits next to the only proportionately aged man in the room who offers the only proportionately reasonable greeting We’re getting a bit old for this to which the poet offers his proportionately reasonable reply Do you want my champagne? The thing starts and it’s all a bit lightweight and barf until a tall kid with a deep voice gets up and reads a poem about Tom Thomson, which the poet doesn’t understand but likes the sound of—which is half the battle, he thinks. Then already it’s sweat sketched from palms to pant-legs and the origami piece of paper unfolded and the lights up there are so bright he can’t see the audience so he focuses instead on an aquarium on the back wall where a goldfish is summersaulting head to tail, over and over. He tells the people this, but adds that he isn’t sure whether he’s the fish or the water.

Hill 47

When it’s all done, he packs up and wonders how much time between impolite and he can leave when someone taps his shoulder. It’s the tall kid with the deep voice and a pretty girl beside him. They shake his hand and thank him and there’s something like sincerity in their irises. Then the girl says I’m sorry about your wife and that fishhooks him belly to spine. He wants to tell them that he’s fine, not that: if they stay together, and are ever put apart, that it will hurt long and always. But suddenly he’s saying that instead, and they’re not running, they just nod. So he gives them his address and tells them to write. Outside the lighting factory, the rain has started to fall, but the poet brought his umbrella, because he knows Montreal. As he steps out, he wonders, if he skipped the train, how long it would take him from there to home before his soles wear out.


In Protest of the Leonard Cohen Mural on Crescent Street A good part of what Montreal is to me is the view from the top of Mont Royal. My second night in the city, having had my fill of building IKEA furniture, I found myself at the foot of the steps, instinctively, and climbed all four-hundred, huffing and puffing like a newbie, until I reached the stone lookout. It was filled with people of various ages and ethnicities: a man playing music on the free piano, kids doing skateboard tricks in the centre, and two women in beautiful saris who asked me to take their photograph. Then I stepped towards the parapet, leaned into it, and looked over. I let my gaze dance from the redbird flag atop the McGill buildings to the bridges over the Saint Lawrence to the cars flowing down the crooks between skyscrapers like blood cells to the sky full of summer evening sunlight to the roof of my apartment building, the smallest, cheapest one on Doctor Penfield. Having come from the flatlands of Northern Ontario and the valley of Ottawa this looking down from above was a revelation and I felt that eternal human calibration that comes from such a vantage: at once king of it all and but one of the moving pieces.


Now that I live in the west end of the city, I make the pilgrimage, or the penitence, up the four-hundred steps less often so it wasn’t until one recent day in spring that I climbed to the lookout and looked out only to find who else but Leonard Cohen starting back at me. Not literally, of course, but in the form of a twenty-story mural on the side of a building on Crescent Street. I tried to let my gaze dance as it once had but it kept landing on him. Was this an equation? Leonard = Montreal An evaluation? Leonard > You Listen, I like Leonard Cohen as much as the next person which, if we’re going to be fair to the next person, is probably a pretty broad spectrum between adoration indifference and revulsion. Sometimes I put him to my ears and let him sing this city to me. But more often than him it’s Joni or Bob or Mingus or Miles and more often than that, nobody. ‘Cause I can sing for myself and I do it best when I can see the whole view off the top of Mont Royal without feeling like Leonard’s leaning into me, his arm around my shoulders, his hand a little too close to my breast for me to rest comfortably.

Hill 51

Given the chance, of course I’d shake that hand but I’d shrug off the embrace. Then I’d say the thing we both already know: No one owns Montreal. No one is Montreal. Of course not, he’d reply, that’s like seeing an orgy through a peephole. Right, or the world through just two pupils.



Sarah Wolfson Love Song in a Small Place Let there be one place: this clump of pine we’re in. Let the only home be an old foundation open to the moon. Pass me the ark and I’ll gobble it. I’m not sorry for the mess the eager river has left. Let dragonfly larvae alight from the lake, let them break the surface like living shrapnel released back to seed and forgiven for the lives ruined. Let this rising swarm the heavens. Let a pitchfork be all of these: plow, walking stick, dancing partner, curmudgeon’s brisk external spine. Come in, perch on the toadstool while we await the migration. I’m heating the cauldron; I’m painting a portrait of god in pine pitch. My hands are sticky, but, by all means, move closer. I made this vessel by bending


my own boughs. I’m not sorry for the starlight, the uneven ground, or the buzzards in the hinterlands. On yonder hillside the sheep, I believe, are happy. If happiness is even a thing with sheep. If happiness is a thing with us let this roof open and suck us out into the starlight. Let there be one celestial body. Let us knock the moon off its axis a little. I said the moon is rising like a dragon. A great migration is tapping its baton, cleaning out its sodden hooves. Stir the pot gently now. The earth’s tongues are reducing into a thicker broth and no one is losing. It’s more savory, maybe, than you’re used to, but if you have nothing nice to say, say only one word and let it be something like waxing.

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Danijela Stojković limbo over there they offer cherry stains asking little else just take them off their hands. do not do so even after you brush your fuzzy tongue along those saline palms like they will let you do. do not take the cherry stains even after licking them and your life looks up at you from beveled cherry smears split in two you are antipodes. heavyhanded libra single scale do not accept the cherry stains better than watercolours sinking suns and bitten mouths over there they offer cherry stains join us, watching. do not go.


variegation all your rooms looked the same with their caryatids i never noticed it but you could have dusted a bit more order fractured leaves fresh space ripe for rediscovery its shape something ours so scour the folds together the concupiscence the unlit air viscous its iridescent gossamer shivers the static we see in that silence clean your room even from the front door you can see your fingerprints all over me

Stojković 57

Patrick O’Reilly The Gambler Well, old sport, time was a fella didn’t dare go in the woods after midnight without three-ash-cross-bread-in-pocket-turn-around-twice-with-your-tshirt-tuckedin-and-on-backwards-yessir. Whyyy I once chased off the whole town of Chance Cove singlehanded with nothing but the cut of my jib and a twist of my grin. My, my, but I had a grin in the good old days. Now, what does it profit a man (manner of speaking) to sit idle in the lounge of this ferry, meting and doling unequal cards to folks thirsty for the lights of Port Aux Basques and too drunk to see much else while waitresses whisper ’bout the goat-legged fella kicking under the table, “poor bugger, wonder what’s after happening to him”?

O’Reilly 59

Keep The men have made women of everything, refer to their shovels as “she,” dig wells, drive posts with a fury seen only in cuckolds. Grief lands where dust settles, thought gathers. The crow picks his bit and scatters off. Rolling, the meadow in stiches plucked and redressed, longers riddled, re-riddled. To whom do you belong, Brides of Frankenstein? It’s best to think acre by acre. Good fences make good neighbours, says Frost. Love thy neighbour, says Christ. Between them, they know everything.


Barbarians A sealpup led astray from kin had beached upon the rock and ice. Her skin was stiff with sish and salt and water. I sat awhile, for want of some more urgent task, and watched her rock and bask and growl. A school bus cut into the gravel. The boys, a pile of laughter, plundered to the beach. Bereft of any better sport, each picked up a fist sized rock.

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Contributors Louis Dudek was born in Montreal and educated at McGill and Columbia Universities. Prominently involved in the literary avant-garde from its early days, he published his first collection of poetry, East of the City, in 1946. Except for a stay in New York during the 1940s, Dudek spent most of his teaching career in the English Department at McGill, from which he retired as Greenshields Professor. A prolific writer, he published more than thirty collections of poetry, criticism and reflections on contemporary culture. Through Contact Press, Delta Canada and Delta magazine, he published many of the most important Canadian poets of the second half of the twentieth century. In 1984, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. Marquita Crevier was born in 1939, and raised in Montreal by a French Canadian father and a Scottish mother. She had been married and had two sons. Marquita attended McGill University in the mid60s. Her Selected Poems by Ingluvin Publications came out in 1973. She had one brother, the late Doug Crevier Sr., with whom she was very close. Marquita was hauntingly beautiful yet reclusive. Before graduating from McGill this year, Daniel Galef wrote for 27 university publications, including Steps, the Veg, the Plumber’s Faucet, the Plumber’s Ledger, the Bull & Bear, the McGill Tribune, and the McGill Daily (plus 20 more). He thinks this is a record, but invites you to break it. He also won the 2016 McGill Drama Festival for his musical play The Stars.

Michael Gnarowski, Professor Emeritus, studied at McGill and Indiana Universities and obtained his graduate degrees from the Universities of Montreal and Ottawa. He co-founded Yes, a little magazine at McGill, and went on to teach at the Universities of Sherbrooke and Lakehead. He won a C.D. Howe Fellowship in 1965 and worked as a Research Fellow with The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism before joining the English Department of Sir George Williams University at which time he was Editor of the Critical Views on Canadian Writers Series, for McGraw-Hill Ryerson. In 1971 he was offered a Professorship at Carleton University and the General Editorship of the Carleton Library Series a role in which he served for twenty years. During 19661967 he co-edited with Louis Dudek a seminal collection of literary documents, The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada reissued in a third edition last year by McGill-Queen’s University Press. He has written for various reference works, and has published with Oxford University Press, the University of Toronto Press and McClelland and Stewart for whom he compiled A Concise Bibliography of English Canadian Literature. Latterly he was Series Editor in the re-issue of the fiction of Hugh MacLennan for McGill-Queen’s University Press in which he wrote introductions for Voices in Time and Two Solitudes. He now edits Voyageur Canadian Classics for Dundurn Publishing of Toronto.

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Brian Henderson is a GG finalist and the author of 11 books of poetry including The Alphamiricon, a deck of visual poem cards now online at Ubu: http://www. His latest is [OR] from Talonbooks. Unidentified Poetic Object is forthcoming from Brick in 2019. He is a co-editor of the Laurier Poetry Series, https://www.wlupress.wlu. ca/Series/L/Laurier-Poetry, and lives with his wife, Charlene Winger, in Grey Highlands Ontario. Miranda Hickman Miranda Hickman is Associate Professor of English at McGill and codirector of the “Poetry Matters” initiative in the Department of English ( Her teaching and research focus on modern poetry (especially American modernists H.D. and Ezra Pound), gender studies, archival practice, and the history of “English” as a discipline. Louise Hill is a poet and a teacher. But those are two words for the same thing. Patrick O’Reilly is the poetry editor of The Antigonish Review. His writing has appeared in Scrivener Creative Review, Walrus, and In/Words’ 30 Under 30 anthology. Kris Paimon tortures pictures until they confess. He refuses to cut his hair and get a real job. This behaviour would have been pretty lame thirty years ago, but he’s betting it will be back in vogue soon.


Decades ago, autodidact & bloody-minded optimist kerry rawlinson gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian soil. Fast-forward: she now follows Literature & Art’s Muses around the Okanagan, barefoot. She’s won contests e.g. Geist; and features lately in: Grey Borders, gravel, Boned, Pedestal Magazine, Arc Poetry, pioneertown, Minola Review; amongst others. kerryrawlinson.tumblr. com; @kerryrawli Karis Shearer is Associate Professor of English at UBC-Okanagan. She is also director of the AMP Lab at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and values how “the surprise” of the archives can reframe our contemporary practice. Her current research focuses on the relationship between creativity and criticism, via poetry in Canada. Raymond Souster was a Canadian poet whose career spanned more than seven decades. He published his first volume of poems, When We Are Young, with First Statement, and went on to publish more than 50 volumes in total. He lived in Toronto his whole life, and has often been called his hometown’s “most loved poet.” Danijela Stojković is new to her ma degree in english lit at the university of toronto, is old to her hometown montreal, and is atemporal to her puppy caper. find her work in other ensorcelled places like The Veg, Graphite Publications, and her pals’ mailboxes.

Brian Trehearne is a Professor of Canadian literature at McGill University. He is the author of Aestheticism and the Canadian Modernists: Aspects of a Poetic Influence (1989) and The Montreal Forties: Modernist Poetry in Transition (1999). He has edited Irving Layton’s Fornalutx: Selected Poems, 1928-1990 (1992), The Complete Poems of A.J.M. Smith (2007), The Complete Poems of John Glassco (2018), and the anthology Canadian Poetry 1920 to 1960 (2010).

Noah Zacharin is a Montreal-born musician and writer living in Toronto. 8 CDs of original music, frequent performances nationally and internationally. Before moving, he was a widely published poet, translator, and critic. Now, after many years, he is back at the game. And grateful for it. More at

Jasmine Nihmey Vasdi is an artist who attended McGill for her BA in Literature. She is currently completing her MA at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Her work has previously appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Otoliths, and, The Literary Yard, among others. She lives between Galicia and Holland. Sarah Wolfson’s poems appear in Canadian and American journals including The Fiddlehead, PRISM international, AGNI, Triquarterly, The Puritan, and West Branch. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she holds an MFA from the University of Michigan. Originally from Vermont, she now lives in Montreal, where she teaches at the McGill Writing Centre. Christopher Woods lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His photographs can be seen in his gallery —

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Scrivener would like to thank: Prof. Gregory Dudek for giving us his generous permission to reproduce the poetry and prose of Louis Dudek. Without either Dudek, this issue would not have been possible. Beth Crevier for giving us permission to reprint the work of the exceptional Marquita Crevier, and for providing us with her biographical information. The folks at Rare Books and Special Collections in McLennan-Redpath for their expertise and infinite patience. We promise we will only requisition and return that copy of The Circle Game a dozen more times. A baker’s dozen. In one afternoon. Adrian King-Edwards and all the folks at The Word Bookstore. While managing a crowded store, Adrian graciously fielded questions, supplied story leads, and, in conjunction with the Writer’s Chapel Trust, furnished us with Louis Dudek’s biographical sketch. The Word Bookstore has been a supporter of Scrivener since our first issue, and is a legendary fixture of the Montreal poetry scene. If for some reason you haven’t visited yet, please drop by 469 Milton Street and say hello to Adrian for us. He’s worried we work too hard. What a great guy. Our wonderful contributors: there is no Scrivener without you. And last, though certainly not least, Louis Dudek for reminding us: “It is the destiny of Montreal to show the country from time to time what poetry is.”



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72 SCRIVENER will return...

contributors Marquita Crevier Daniel Galef Michael Gnarowski Brian Henderson Miranda Hickman Louise Hill Patrick O’Reilly Danijela Stojković Brian Trehearne Sarah Wolfson Noah Zacharin

...and others

with a spotlight on

Louis Dudek

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