Eclectic Mix Author Spotlight: Ben Hickman

Eclectic Mix Author Spotlight: Ben Hickman

Ben Hickman is Senior Lecturer in modern poetry at the University of Kent, and Director of the Centre for Modern Poetry, having studied at University College, London and the University of Kent. Recent publications include John Ashbery and English Poetry and Crisis and the US Avant-Garde: Poetry and Real Politics.

Ben is the author of “Location and Address in Vancouver’s New Poetries of Place: Wayde Compton, Peter Culley, Meredith Quartermain.”


Article Abstract:

This essay analyzes three poetries of place that seek a sense of locatedness, a sense of place that finds “here” defined by elsewhere, and “now” defined by manifold movements. Looking closely at work by Wayde Compton, Peter Culley, and Meredith Quartermain, the essay explores the dialectical sense of address in each. Compton negotiates a sense of locatedness that can register particular historical and geographical conditions at the same time as recognizing the homelessness of black experiences of place. Culley, meanwhile, interrogates address to explore location as a marginal site of ephemera defined above all as a relation between places. Quartermain’s work, moving through the city while reaching back into its past, simultaneously articulates historical layers and the forces occluding them. Finally, the essay makes a claim for the politics of this poetry as, in important senses, post-avant-garde: concerned with constructions of relation rather than direct enactments of destruction and interruption.

Canadian Literature issue 234, Eclectic Mix, is available to order through our online store.

Eclectic Mix Author Spotlight: Donna Palmateer Pennee

Donna Palmateer Pennee works at Western University Canada. Her research on the relative “absence” of the American Civil War in the canonical history of Canadian literature and criticism, and its implications, first examined the afterlife of slavery in Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter and was published in SCL/ÉLC.

Donna is the author of “Transatlantic Figures in The Imperialist: Public Sentiment, Private Appetite.”

Article Abstract:

This essay revisits Duncan’s 1904 novel The Imperialist to discuss the implications of the rarely noted antecedents of Mother Beggarlegs in the African diaspora of slavery. Mother Beggarlegs’ presence points to a history of free trade debates in transatlantic slavery and puts into question a nationalist pedagogy of Canada’s moral superiority over the United States on its record of racism against Black people. Embedded in the novel’s election debates on British-Canadian-US economic relations, in its account of Canada’s shift from mercantile to industrial capitalism, and in the temporality of narration of the Murchison family’s rise into middle-class stability, the figurative language tied to the diaspora of slavery in North America provides a new understanding of the novel’s much-studied irony and ambivalence.

Canadian Literature issue 234, Eclectic Mix, is available to order through our online store.


Eclectic Mix Author Spotlight: Margaret Boyce

Margaret Boyce is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her areas of research have included critical animal studies, settler-colonial studies, and especially the connections between incarceration in Canada and colonial recognition politics. Her current research project examines Inuit art appreciation in southern art museums in the context of Canada asserting sovereignty over the Arctic.

Margaret is the author of “Taking Cereals Seriously in Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese.”


Article Abstract:

This article proposes a fresh reading of the classic Canadian novel, Wild Geese, by Martha Ostenso. By way of Anna Tsing’s discussion of the cross-species influence of crops on the development of Western agricultural societies, I reconceive of the novel’s surly antagonist Caleb as beholden to the fruits of his labour. I thereby develop a reading of Ostenso’s frontier narrative that takes seriously the role of other-than-human actors in the novel, which counters scholarship that ascribes solely symbolic status to the novel’s plant life, while also revealing the novel’s intrinsic anxiety regarding the limitations of settler belonging.

Canadian Literature issue 234, Eclectic Mix, is available to order through our online store.

New Issue: Eclectic Mix #234 (Autumn 2017)

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 234 (Autumn 2017), Eclectic Mix! Nicholas Bradley writes in his editorial:

I ponder the notion that at the heart of teaching and learning, and of reading and writing, is a dance between forgetting and remembering. Literary scholarship is shaped in no small part by the limitations of scholars themselves. We aspire to expertise, and bear a professional obligation to know what is not generally known, yet there is always more to read, and our interpretative claims are governed by how little any one of us can remember, let alone truly comprehend. […] The articles in this issue of Canadian Literature are engaged in these
very processes of revisitation, reappraisal, and reckoning. For Kirsten Alm, the poetry of Robert Bringhurst and Tim Lilburn demands recognition of colonial injustices in North America, while for Ben Hickman, the poetry
of Wayde Compton, Peter Culley, and Meredith Quartermain illustrates
the complexity of establishing a sense of place in contemporary Vancouver. In order to understand familiar works differently, Robert David Stacey looks again at P. K. Page’s “After Rain,” Margaret Boyce at Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese, and Donna Pennee at Sara Jeannette Duncan’s The Imperialist. And Carrie Dawson shows how certain stories are misused in service of a comforting national narrative. These studies attest to the surprises that lie in store for attentive readers.

—Nicholas Bradley, “Surprise, Surprise”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Carrie Dawson, Donna Palmateer Pennee, Robert David Stacey, Ben Hickman, Margaret Boyce, and Kirsten Alm.
  • Poetry by Bola Opaleke, Changming Yuan, dee Hobsbawn-Smith, Rocco de Giacomo, David Eso, and Tom Wayman
  • Reviews by Tania Aguila-Way, Alyssa Arbuckle, Emily Ballantyne, Emily Bednarz, Gregory Betts, Magali Blanc, Myra Bloom, Natalie Boldt, Liza Bolen, Nicholas Bradley, David M. J. Carruthers, Paul Chafe, Lily Cho, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Laura K. Davis, Susie DeCoste, Jeff Fedoruk, Graham Nicol Forst, Stephanie Fung, Julian Gunn, Adam Hammond, Benjamin Hertwig, Shaina Humble, Crystal Hurdle, David Johnstone, Dorothy F. Lane, Stephanie L. Lu, Heather Macfarlane, Andrea MacPherson, Krzysztof Majer, Ryan Melsom, Tina Northrup, Neil Querengesser, Michael Roberson, Will Smith, Sylvie Vranckx, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Lorraine York.

The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy reading!


Literary History Author Spotlight: Rebekah Ludolph

Rebekah Ludolph is a PhD student at Wilfrid Laurier University. Supported by a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, Rebekah is currently studying alternative subjectivities and multicultural texts in Canadian literature.

Rebekah is the author of “Humour, Intersubjectivity, and Indigenous Female Intellectual Tradition in Anahareo’s Devil In Deerskins.

Article Abstract

Since its initial publication in 1972, Anahareo’s autobiography, Devil in Deerskins, has often been read as reinforcing the conventions of Canadian romantic nationalism and stereotypes of Indigenous women. However, reading the 2014 First Voices reissue of the text alongside autobiographical theory, the history of Indigenous women’s publications in Canada, and the depiction of Anahareo in other works about herself and Grey Owl, suggests that in her descriptions of her younger self, Anahareo deliberately uses humour to engage with and refute the dominant literary depictions of Indigenous women and, in the process, models an Indigenous female intellectual tradition of autobiographical self-representation.

Canadian Literature issue 233, Literary History, is available to order through our online store.

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Literary History Author Spotlight: Maidie Hilmo

Maidie Hilmo publishes extensively on Canadian writing and art as well as on illustrated medieval English manuscripts.

She is especially interested in the ways in which words and images can inform each other to create a multilayered experience.

When she taught English, Creative Writing, and Art History at Northern Lights College, she was co-founder of Treeline Press, which featured local talent and the writings of established Canadian poets, including bill bissett, who gave readings to enthusiastic audiences in northern British Columbia. She has edited two books on the dynamically charged works of Canadian artist Carle Hessay, including For Kelly, With Love: Poems on the Abstracts of Carle Hessay (2014). In this lavishly illustrated book fellow Canadian poets completed a project Kelly was unable to before she passed away from cancer, to write short poems inspired by specially chosen small Hessay abstract paintings. Maidie has just finished editing a new publication by one of those poets, Karen Ballinger, whose The Door Creaks Open is forthcoming this year.

Her most recent medieval studies include two forthcoming articles on the Pearl-Gawain manuscript following her request to the British Library for a detailed scientific analysis of the pigments of the miniatures and the text of these important poems. This led to the discovery that the scribe was likely also the artist of the underdrawings (Journal of the Early Book Society, vol. 20 and Manuscript Studies, Fall 2018).

Maidie is the author of “Sounding a Canadian Icon: an Interview with bill bissett.”

Article Abstract:

A Canadian pioneer in sound poetry and concrete poetry, bill bissett hardly needs an introduction. His writing awards, honorary degrees, list of readings, not to mention his innumerable publications over the decades are too long to mention here. He is a consummate performer of his poetry in every kind of venue. What is unique about this interview is that he recorded his answers on his iPad using his own phonetic spelling. This preserves the poetic rhythms of his speech and encourages the reader to slow down and to sound out his words, creating another kind of performance.

Topics covered concern the source of his poetry, his place as a forerunner in concrete and sound poetry, his innovative practice of breaking down language into its phonetic components, his use of a rattle and ritual sounds, his thoughts on the creative possibilities of computer technologies, his drawings in relation to his poetry, the role humour plays in his writing and art, his recent book and new paintings, and his philosophy about art and life.

Canadian Literature issue 233, Literary History, is available to order through our online store.

New Research Note: Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed and the Excised Passage

In “‘I write this for all of you’: Recovering the Unpublished RCMP ‘Incident’ in Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed (1973),” Deanna Reder and Alix Shield document their experiences as archival researchers uncovering a passage excised from the manuscript of Maria Campbell’s pathclearing autobiography Halfbreed by its publisher, McClelland & Stewart, prior to the book’s publication. Describing the manuscript’s publishing history and bringing to light the contents of this passage—removed against Campbell’s wishes—Reder and Shield analyze how its excision influences Halfbreed as a book, how its recovery reflects Campbell’s original intentions as a writer, and how the passage might inform both the historical legacy and contemporary relevance of Halfbreed. A version of this essay will appear in print in the Opinions and Notes section of the forthcoming special issue of Canadian Literature on “Diversity, Inclusivity, and Mentorship in Canadian Literary Culture: Histories and Futures.”  We post it here in preview of that issue.

Excised manuscript pages from “Halfbreed Woman.” Used by permission of Maria Campbell.

CanLit Guides at Congress: Launch Event and Roundtable

Congress 2018 at the University of Regina is fast approaching, and at that time we will be officially launching 16 new CanLit Guides chapters. In order to celebrate the launch and also to reflect on the project and how it relates to broader questions about research and pedagogy in CanLit, we will be hosting two events, both jointly sponsored by ACCUTE: a roundtable discussion on research and teaching Canadian literature, followed by an official launch event for the new CanLit Guides Chapters (details below).

These events will take place consecutively on Monday, May 28, in LC 215. ACCUTE’s program for Congress 2018 can be found here.


Roundtable: “Working at the Intersections of Research and Teaching”

10:30am-12:00pm, LC 215

This roundtable discussion amongst CanLit Guides authors and editors uses the CLG project as a case study to open questions around the relationship between research, teaching, and learning, and what constitutes changing notions of “legitimate” academic work. Questions for discussion include:

  • Where and how does teaching diverge from scholarship? Are they valued differently?
  • What challenges do we face in bringing research and teaching together? And what practical strategies can we share for bringing together these roles in new forms and practices?
  • How do we balance work in our fields of interest with obligations to and passions for teaching and learning?
  • How is academic work defined and valued in different disciplinary and institutional contexts?

The following CanLit Guides authors will be participating in this roundtable:

  • Brenna Clarke Gray (Douglas): “The Labour of Teaching CanLit”
  • Nathalie Cooke (McGill) and Shelley Boyd (Kwantlen): “When Pedagogy and Research Meet: Creating Intellectual Frameworks for the Study of Restaurant Literature”
  • Nadine Fladd (Waterloo): “The CanLit Guides workshop: making scholarship public and accessible for learners and researchers”
  • Lucia Lorenzi (McMaster): “Shifting the Access of Power: Bringing Marginalized Voices into Classrooms with Open Educational Resources”
  • Farah Moosa (VIU): “Transitions: Researching, Teaching, and Writing about Joy Kogawa’s Obasan”
  • Gillian Roberts (Nottingham): “Internationalizing and Interdisciplining Canadian Literary Studies”
  • Carl Watts (Royal Military College): “Double Apostrophes: CanLit Guides and the Voice of the Teacher-Scholar”

Launch Celebration: New CanLit Guides Chapters

12:00-1:30, LC 215 

We are excited to be launching 16 new chapters for CanLit Guides, an open-access teaching resource produced by Canadian Literature. We will be celebrating the culmination of collaborative work between our expert chapter authors and our team of editors that began at the CanLit Guides Workshop in 2016. The launch also marks a significant shift in how the CanLit Guides are produced: previously, chapters in the guides were written in-house by editors and graduate students; now, we have transitioned to a system where area specialists write chapters. Our 16 new chapters span a wide variety of topics of interest to scholars and teachers of Canadian literature, including:

  • The Periodical Press and Early Print Culture in Canada
  • Chinese Restaurant Literature
  • Intersections of Diasporic and Indigenous Literatures
  • Dionne Brand’s No Language Is Neutral
  • Marie Clements’ Burning Vision
  • Joy Kogawa’s Obasan
  • Official Multiculturalism and Funding Canadian Literature
  • Literary Censorship in Canada
  • and many more…

We hope you can join us to contribute your voices to the roundtable discussion and to help celebrate with our authors and editors the launch of these new chapters, which are now available on the CanLit Guides website (!


Literary History Author Spotlight: Eli MacLaren

Eli MacLaren teaches Canadian literature at McGill University. He is the author of Dominion and Agency: Copyright and the Structuring of the Canadian Book Trade, 1867–1918 (U of Toronto P 2011).

Eli is the author of “Copyright and Poetry in Twenty-First Century Canada: Poets’ Incomes and Fair Dealing.”

Article Abstract:

Twenty-first-century Canada has shifted its definition of copyright to give more weight to fair dealing and to users’ rights. Copying original, recently published works without the permission of the copyright owner is thus more explicitly legal than ever before in Canada. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the significance of this historic shift for the unique case of poetry. What effect will the redefinition of fair dealing have on Canadian poetry? Should teachers provide free copies of poems to their students? How important are royalties to poetic creativity? How do contemporary poets make a living, and how does copyright contribute to it? From 2014 to 2015, I directed a survey of approximately fifty active Canadian poets to gather evidence on their sources of revenue and the utility of copyright as they see it. The results indicate that, while the poets unanimously cherish moral rights in their work, the direct commercial benefits of ownership, as measured by the sales of authorized copies, are so low as to be almost negligible. Nevertheless, ownership retains indirect value, in that it provides a framework for the subsidization of poetry. In light of these findings, it is reasonable to advance a complex model for the production of Canadian poetry, one that prizes the established system of government grants for creative writing and authorized book publishing, but that also recognizes the good that comes of unauthorized copying. State sponsorship and fair dealing are compatible tiers in the economics of poetry.

Canadian Literature issue 233, Literary History, is available to order through our online store.