Collection Statement

This collection of books of Canadian poetry between 1965 and 1990 represents the great development in the modes, voices, and forms in Canadian poetry that occurred within the period. The collection is made up of Canadian, mainly first edition, soft cover poetry books. The economy of the soft cover book allowed influential small presses to print otherwise unknown Canadian poets, creating a national poetry community. This collection includes a number of signed copies, as well as one short-run chapbook. These items showcase the range of Canadian poets that emerged in the post-war years that defined Canadian literature as its own entity, rather than as a minor form of English literature.

Major areas represented in this collection include the increased publication of women writers, who used poetry to interrogate the sexual inequalities of contemporary life and language. Another influential group of the period was the TISH poets, out of Vancouver. These poets included Daphne Marlatt, George Bowering, and Fred Wah, who used linguistic innovation in their work to probe narratives of individuality and community. Major Toronto poets also figure heavily in the collection with the likes of Margaret Atwood, bill bissett, Dennis Lee, bpNichol and Michael Ondaatje. These poets gave voice to urban Canada, and the problematic role of the civic environment. bill bissett, bpNichol, and Steve McCaffery represent the new directions of post-modern avant-garde writing that are specifically Canadian. Also, significant development of the Canadian long-poem occurred in this period, with bpNichol’s Martyrology books, Michael Ondaatje’s seminal Long Poem Anthology, and Robert Kroetch’s Field Notes. Finally, French-Canadian and lesbian writings are represented in the first translations of Nicole Brossard’s influential “Blue Books,” which relentlessly enact the limitations of language both in terms of gender, as well as culture.

The period between 1965 and 1990 was, in many ways, the foundation of modern Canadian poetry. The developments in representation, diversity and awareness, created the national identity Canadian poetry is known for today.

List of Titles in Exhibition

Atwood, Margaret. The Circle Game. Toronto: Anansi, 1966.
—. The Journals of Susanna Moodie. First edition. Toronto: Oxford, 1970

Birney, Earle. The Creative Writer. First edition. Toronto: CBC Publications, 1966.
—. Rag & Bone Shop. First edition. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971.
—. what’s so big about green? First edition. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1973.

bissett, bill. of th land divine service. First edition signed chapbook. Toronto: Weed/flower Press, 1968.
—. pomes for yoshi. First Limited Edition Chapbook. Vancouver: blewointmentpress, 1972.

Bowering, George. Allophanes. First edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1976.
—. Baseball: A Poem in the Magic Number 9. 2003. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1963.
—. Kerrisdale Elegies. First edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1984.
—. Particular Accidents: Selected Poems. First edition. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1980.
—. Seventy-one Poems For People. First edition. Red Deer: RDC Press, 1985.

Brossard, Nicole. trans. Caroline Bergvall. Typhon Dru. First English edition. London: Reality Street, 1997.
—. trans Patricia Claxton. French Kiss, Or: A Pang’s Progress. First English edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1986.
—.—. Turn of a Pang. First English edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1976.
—. trans Barbara Godard. Lovhers. First English edition. Montreal: Guernica Editions, 1987.
——.These Our Mothers, Or: The Disintegrating Chapter. First English edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1983.
—. trans Larry Shouldice. A Book. First English edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1976.
——. Daydream Mechanics. First English Edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1980.

Geddes, Gary ed. Fifteen Canadian Poets. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1970.

Kroetsch, Robert. Completed Field Notes. 2000. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1989.

Layton, Irving. The Collected Poems of Irving Layton. First edition hardcover. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971.

Lee, Dennis. Civil Elegies. 1972. Toronto: Anansi, 1968.

Marlatt, Daphne. Touch to My Tongue. First edition. Edmonton: Longspoon Press, 1982.

McCaffery, Steve. Evoba. Signed first edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1987.

Nichol, Bp. The Captain Poetry Poems Complete. Reiussue of 1971 blewointment press edition. Toronto: BookThug, 2011.
—. bpNichol. Rational Geomancy: The Kids of the Book-Machine: The Collected Research Papers of the Toronto Research Group: 1973–1982. Vancouver: Talon Books, 1992.
—. Konfessions of an Elizabethan Fan Dancer. Collected edition. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2004.
—. The Martyrology Books 1 & 2. 2007 Facsimile edition. Toronto: Coach House Books. 1972.
—. The Martyrology Book 2. First edition. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1972.
—. The Martyrology Books 3 & 4. First edition. Toronto: Coach House Books, 1976.
—. The Martyrology Book 5. 2006 facsimile edition. Toronto: Coach House Books. 1982.
—. The Martyrology Book 6 Books: 1978–1985. 1994 facsimile edition. Toronto: Coach House Books. 1987.
—. Gifts: The Martyrology Book(s) 7 &8. First edition including inserts of poems in back flap. Toronto: Coach House Books, 1990.
—. Music by Howard Gerhard. The Martyrology 9: 1986-87: Ad Sanctos: A Choral Work. First edition. Toronto: Coach House Books, 1993.
—. Selected Organs: Parts of an Auto-Biography. First edition. Toronto: Black Moss Press, 1988.
—. Zygal: A Book of Mysteries and Translations. Toronto: Coach House Books, 1984.

Ondaatje, Michael. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. 1972. Toronto: Anansi. 1970.
—. There’s a Trick with a Knife I’m Learning to Do: Poems 1963–78. 1987. Signed copy. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1978.

Ondaatje, Michael ed. The Long Poem Anthology. 1979. Toronto: Coach House Press.

Pratt, E.J. Collected Poems. ed. Northrop Frye. Toronto: Macmillan, 1962.

Wah, Fred. Loki is Buried at Smokey Creek: Selected Poems. First edition. Vancouver: Talon Books, 1980.