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Cover of issue #218

Current Issue: #218 Of Borders and Bioregions (Autumn 2013)

Canadian Literature’s Issue 218 (Autumn 2013), Of Borders and Bioregions is now available. Guest edited by Anne Kaufman and Robert Thacker, the issue features articles by Tamas Dobozy, Laurie Ricou, Lisa Szabo-Jones, Magali Sperling Beck, and more.

Welcome to Canadian Literature!

Canadian Literature aims to foster a wider academic interest in the Canadian literary field, and publishes a wide range of material from Canadian and international scholars, writers, and poets. Each issue contains a variety of critical articles, an extensive book reviews section, and a selection of original poetry.

Canlit.ca's Online section offers supplementary content like Interviews with Canadian authors and poets, our databases of Canadian scholars, Canadian publishers, and Canadian Literary Magazines/Journals; and Letters & Reflections—a place for commentary that is not published in the print journal.


Alistair MacLeod 1936–2014

April 22, 2014

Cover of Canadian Literature issue #89

Alistair MacLeod, the acclaimed Cape Breton short story writer and novelist, passed away Sunday. Known for his carefully crafted short stories, MacLeod published just one novel, 1999’s No Great Mischief. The novel was feted both in Canada and abroad, winning multiple prizes including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award.

MacLeod’s work also received attention from scholars in the pages of Canadian Literature over the years. The following is a list of articles, reviews of MacLeod’s works, and reviews of scholarship on MacLeod’s writing from our archives:


Book Reviews of Alistair MacLeod’s Works

Reviews of Scholarship on Alistair MacLeod and His Work

  • Editing Talent by Dee Horne. #205 (Summer 2010): 160. HTML available. Review of: Douglas Gibson Unedited: On Editing Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, W.O. Mitchell, Mavis Gallant, Jack Hodgins, Alistair MacLeod, etc. by Christine Evain.
  • Atlantic Myths by Lawrence Mathews. #180 (Spring 2004): 119–20. HTML available. Review of: Alistair MacLeod: Essays on His Work by Irene Guilford.

National Poetry Month

April 2, 2014

Cover of issue 210-211

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Canadian Literature has been publishing Canadian poems in our journal throughout our history. You can read poems by browsing through back issues, and we have an archive of poems and interviews with poets on our CanLit Poets resource.

You’ll also find lots of poetry content on CanLit Guides, including our guide to Poetic Visuality and Experimentation.

Also make sure to browse through Reading and Writing Canada: A Classroom Guide to Nationalism to find lots of Canadian poems published in Canadian Literature.

The following is a list of poetry-related special issues we’ve published over the years:

Jordan Abel’s The Place of Scraps shortlisted for 2014 BC Book Prize

March 12, 2014

CanLit Guides Logo Today the BC Book Prizes announced their 2014 shortlist. Jordan Abel’s poetry collection The Place of Scraps, which we wrote about on CanLit Guides in the Indigenous Literatures in Canada resource, is among the finalists for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

In the chapter Visual Poetry and Indigenous-Settler Issues: Shane Rhodes and Jordan Abel, we compare The Place of Scraps to the visual poetry of Shane Rhodes to consider how the poets engage with assumptions about Indigenous-settler relations in the past and present.

Also check out our guide to Poetic Visuality and Experimentation for help reading visual poetry.

Fred Wah’s Poetry Connection: Link Up with Canadian Poetry

February 28, 2014

During his time as Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Fred Wah created a collection of resources for teachers and students of Canadian poetry. The collection features a series of videos on YouTube of poets reading their work, and accompanying PDFs that contain the poems, questions and prompts for classroom use.

Wah’s project serves as great accompaniment to the content on CanLit Guides—for example, our guide to Poetic Visuality and Experimentation. We encourage you to check out our guide and apply what you’ve learned to the poems in Wah’s Poetry Connection: Link Up with Canadian Poetry video series!

Call for Papers: Queer Frontiers in Canadian and Québécois Literature / Frontières queers dans la littérature québécoise et canadienne

February 26, 2014

The concept of frontier is most productive in thinking about queer experience. The spatial frontier separates the invisibility of private intimacy from the visibility of public life; the freedom and security of queer districts (for instance, the Village in Montreal, Church Street in Toronto, and Davie Street in Vancouver) from the heteronormative erasure of queer life in towns and cities throughout Canada. The border is also temporal and generational, separating childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age of those who live their queer experiences in extremely different ways. It marks queer legal status before and after same-sex marriage; queer history before and after the appearance of HIV, AIDS and tritherapies; and larger social histories before and after the sexual liberation struggles of the sixties and seventies. […more details…]

La notion de « frontière » est des plus productives afin de penser l’expérience queer. La frontière spatiale sépare l’invisibilité de l’intimité et la visibilité socio-culturelle ; la liberté et la sécurité des quartiers queers (par exemple le Village à Montréal, Church Street à Toronto et Davie Village à Vancouver) et l’oppression, le danger et l’effacement de la vie queer dans de nombreux villages et villes à travers le Canada. La frontière est aussi temporelle. Elle sépare l’enfance, l’adolescence, l’âge adulte et la vieillesse des personnes qui vivent leur expérience queer de manières fort différentes. Elle marque aussi l’histoire queer avant le droit au mariage de personnes de même sexe, et après ; avant la trithérapie contre le VIH, et après ; avant l’apparition du sida, et après ; avant les luttes de libération sexuelle des années 60 et 70, et après. […plus de détails…]

Current Issue: #218 (Autumn 2013)

February 20, 2014

Cover of issue 218 Canadian Literature’s Issue 218 (Autumn 2013), Of Borders and Bioregions is now available to order. Guest editors Anne L. Kaufman and Robert Thacker have compiled a tribute to former Canadian Literature editor Laurie Ricou, as they write in their Introduction:

The essays that follow here speak clearly and eloquently to the ongoing effects and wide-ranging influences of [Laurie] Ricou’s research and writing. But more than that and, frankly better than that for those of us who see ourselves as teachers, some of these essays recreate Ricou in the classroom—carrying and using that (mostly empty) attaché case on the first day of class to create the course atmosphere sought—and ultimately making courses which, palpably, have had life-altering and career-directing effects on his students. Together, as most of these writers make sharply clear, he is still teaching them and—coequally—they are still teaching him. And us. What better might be said of him?

—Anne L. Kaufman and Robert Thacker, Introduction: Reading Ricou.

Issue 218 features articles by Laurie Ricou himself; Tamas Dobozy; Maia Joseph, Travis Mason, and Angela Waldie; Lisa Szabo-Jones; Magali Sperling Beck; and Katherine Ann Roberts. Also in this issue, new Canadian poetry by Sonnet L'Abbé, Christopher Patton, Nancy Pagh, TV Mason, and Susan McCaslin … plus book reviews!

Order this issue now from our online store.

Mavis Gallant (1922–2014)

February 19, 2014

Cover of Canadian Litertature issue #93

Celebrated Canadian writer Mavis Gallant passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Gallant, who spent most of her career in Paris, France, was best known for short stories but also wrote novels, plays, and essays. In 1981, Gallant won the Governor General’s Award in fiction for her collection Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories and was named to the Order of Canada.

Despite living most of her life outside of Canada, Gallant’s work received much critical attention in the pages of Canadian Literature. Here is a list of all articles, reviews of Gallant’s works, and reviews of scholarship on Gallant’s writing published in Canadian Literature:


Book Reviews of Mavis Gallant’s Works

Reviews of Scholarship on Mavis Gallant’s Work

First Nations Public Library Week: February 10–15, 2014

February 13, 2014

Cover of issue #215 This week is First Nations Public Library Week in Ontario. The theme this year is “Celebrating Mother Earth.”

Our open-access classroom resource, CanLit Guides, has a guide to Indigenous Literatures in Canada — it’s a great resource for instructors, students, and anyone who wants to learn more about the complicated relationship between colonialism, culture, and language.

The guide features chapters on Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters, Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water, Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach, and much more.

CanLit Guides and #readwomen2014

February 5, 2014

Are you reading women authors in 2014?

CanLit Guides Logo Writer and artist Joanna Walsh’s Twitter hashtag #readwomen2014 has gone viral, encouraging readers worldwide to share their favourite women authors. Walsh’s campaign picks up on studies by organizations such as CWILA (Canadian Women in the Literary Arts) and VIDA that have found that far more books written by men are reviewed than ones written by women. The #readwomen2014 hashtag has sparked a lively online conversation about the role of gender in literary representation. CBC Books got into the fray with their list of 10 Canadian women you need to read, which includes writers such as Eden Robinson.

CanLit Guides has lots of content to help contextualize debates around gender and literature, starting with our Gender, Sexuality, and Canadian Literature guide. The guide contains primers on academic theories about on topics such as feminism, sexuality, performativity, and their relationship to literature. For example, we have a chapter on Feminist History of Literature and Culture in Canada, which examines the waves metaphor of feminism and the history of feminist literary culture in Canada. Our page on CWILA helps contextualize the debate about gender and literary representation from a Canadian perspective.

We also have plenty of literary case studies on work written by Canadian women authors:

As well, our Poetic Visuality and Experimentation guide features poetry by Canadian women poets M. Travis Lane and Rita Wong.

Explore CanLit Guides for lots more content on Canadian women writers!

CanLit Guides is a flexible learning resource, developed by Canadian Literature, that introduces students to academic reading and writing. The guides use articles from Canadian Literature’s online archive, helping students navigate scholarly conversations surrounding Canadian literature.

A remembrance for poet Gwen Hauser (1944–2012)

January 30, 2014

Canadian poet Tom Wayman has written a tribute to fellow poet Gwen Hauser, who passed away in 2012. The following is Wayman’s remembrance of Hauser:

I was surprised and saddened to hear from James Deahl in January 2014 of Gwen Hauser’s death more than a year after the fact. I had always enjoyed her energy—sometimes manic but seldom without self-awareness and a sense of humor and of the absurd—and admired the poems that flowed from her thoroughly lived commitment to social justice. Gwen published between 1972 and 1986 two collections with blewointmentpress and two with Fiddlehead Poetry Books, besides various self-published and miscellaneous material.

I first knew her in the mid-1970s when we were both around the Toronto poetry scene. We were in our early 30s, a little older than most of the crew at that time: Pier Giorgio di Cicco, Mary di Michele, Greg Gatenby, etc. Besides we poets having the usual self-important enthusiasms of young men and women first fully experiencing adult life, we were also surfing atop the dying wave of the 1960s, when change was everywhere around us. Poetry had played a role in such changes, being published in every kind of counter-culture and social justice pamphlet and newspaper, as well as being spoken into microphones at rallies, sit-ins, be-ins. Poetry still had considerable cultural cachet in society at large, too: a new book of poems by Irving Layton or Earle Birney or Dorothy Livesay was treated by newspapers as a significant event.

Though we poets were thus fueled by our age and our times, Gwen stood out as a little more eccentric than most of us as she worked at a succession of low-paying jobs while forging her own path through the many by-ways of the nascent women’s movement, the ever-fracturing left, and a labour movement that was the only one on the planet where the majority of unions were controlled from another country. She would show up at literary readings, whether an open mike was part of the proceedings or not, with all (or apparently all) her current poems stuffed into a large shopping bag. I can remember after one reading Gwen swinging the bag at the head of one of the male poets in response to some sexist comment he uttered. Dozens of poem-bearing papers flew from the bag as it arced toward the noggin of the thoughtless fellow-writer, and more poems shot forth when the bag landed. A scramble on everyone’s part then ensued to reclaim the dispersed sheets and return them to their rightful owner.

At the time, I was researching material for my first large anthology of poems by people writing about their own daily work. Poems by Gwen were eventually included in the book, Going for Coffee, which B.C.’s Harbour Publishing issued in 1981.

Her wonderful poems were what redeemed, for me, her difficult life that skirted absolute poverty, and perpetually involved a cycle of enthusiasms, depressions, impulsive acts, enemy lists, acts of kindness, and vigorous denunciations. Her poems encapsulated the craziness and crazy-making-ness of how capitalism organizes production and consumption. The content of Gwen’s writing about her employment epitomized the new work writing in that she offered specific details of a job (the personalities, tools, procedures of the worksite), an insider’s perspective, and frequently employed humor. For decades, whenever I gave a performance of the new work writing I would read Gwen’s Where Things Come From. In Gwen’s poem the narrator is employed at a Canada Dry plant

cleaning out
cigarette cases
kleenex, etc.
from the crates
for pop

The narrator suggests she should put a note in the soft drink bottles asking for help, saying she’s being held / a prisoner in / a canada dry factory. And in the characteristic way that many of Gwen’s poems turn from a singular experience to include the rest of us, this poem concludes:

maybe if
we all
did this
people would realize
where things come from.

Gwen’s work poems deal with sexism on the job, being fired, the idiocy of management at all levels. Her unflinching eye alights on her own behavior as much as on those of her fellow employees or the foreman or forewoman. Nor are the organizations and activities intended to resist oppression, to lead us to a better life, spared Gwen’s skewering attention.

I included poems of Gwen’s in a second anthology of insider’s work poems, Paperwork, Harbour published in 1991. I lost touch with Gwen after the first disbursement of royalties from Paperwork. The last book of hers I saw was her self-published (as Goldflower Publishing) Poems for the Colour Green (1986). I didn’t find poems of hers in literary magazines during the 90s, but I knew of Gwen’s long-ago impatience with magazine and book editors, so imagined her busy somewhere (the last address I had for her was Hamilton) publishing locally and involved to the maximum extent possible with social justice issues and organizations.

—Tom Wayman

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