National Poetry Month 2020

April 28, 2020

As we near the end of National Poetry Month, we too want to pause to pay attention to the centrality of poetry in our cultures and our lives. Since it began in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has grown to become a significant literary celebration. During this challenging time of global pandemic, poetry has become an outlet for people to seek comfort, solace, and distraction. In the words of the Academy, “we can rely on poems to offer wisdom, uplifting ideas, and language that prompts reflection that can help us slow down and center mentally, emotionally, spiritually.” To focus on the key role that poetry has played at the journal from the beginning, we suggest you have a look at our poetry-themed back issues here and our CanLit Guide on Poetic Visuality and Experimentation here. Finally, if you want to help support poets and poetry in Canada during this time, we recommend a helpful list of resources posted by The League of Canadian Poets.

—Niamh Harold, Editorial Assistant

Message from Canadian Literature

April 7, 2020

Greetings from Canadian Literature. We are living in an unprecedented time of sadness and uncertainty, and, also at points, beautiful community togetherness. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy in this challenging time of COVID-19. Because of the need for physical distancing (and at the directive of UBC), our physical office closed on March 16 and will remain closed until at least the end of April, and likely longer. During this time we have been adapting to working remotely. We are now continuing to edit articles, solicit reviews, process submissions, and do our best to keep the journal in operation. After some adjustments, we think this might just work. We continue to accept submissions and will continue to reach out to our valued community members to seek readers reports. We just ask for your patience as everything will inevitably take longer than normal. We know that many of our academic colleagues who we rely on for articles, reviews, and reports have had a difficult transition to working remotely (whether taking classes online or having to relocate to safer spaces). We want to express our deep gratitude and support to all of you.

During this hard time, we are also thinking of all of the scholars, artists, writers, and poets who have published in our pages. We are heartened to see how people are turning to books for comfort and stimulation, and finding ways to support independent publishers and their favourite local artists and booksellers at this time when support is most needed. A number of bookstores in Vancouver where we are located (including Kidsbooks, Massy Books, Pulpfiction Books, and The Paper Hound Bookshop) are either doing book delivery or curbside pickup. We understand that Turning the Tide is doing the same in Saskatoon, as is Type Books in Toronto, among others across the country. We hope that our readers will continue to support Canadian writing in these new ways.

Stay safe, everyone.

All our best,
The Canadian Literature team

The Canadian Literature High School Initiative!

March 12, 2020

Canadian Literature is thrilled to report that we have just sent packages of 2-3 back issues of our journal to over 300 secondary school libraries across Canada! We are pleased to announce the launch of a new project that we have called “The Canadian Literature High School Initiative,” and we’re excited to share with you what the project is all about.

A teacher at a local Vancouver school recently reached out to ask us if we had any spare issues of the journal that she could show to her grade 12 AP students. She wanted them to connect with a physical copy of the academic journal and to hold literary scholarship in their hands. Recognizing that it was better to have back issues of the journal in her students’ hands than on our storage shelves, we were totally happy to share. Her request stayed with us. It made us realize that exploring the contents of the journal and its print culture material might be of interest to other students and educators as well. So, we started a project—The Canadian Literature High School Initiative—of circulating copies of our journal to a range of libraries at secondary schools in all provinces and territories, compliments of Canadian Literature.

We wanted to show what it is that we do at UBC in the Faculty of Arts and we hope through this initiative to help build connections between high school and university scholarship. In each package, we included a special issue on the work of Thomas King because it is still our most popular (and most often consulted) issue and we know that Medicine River, The Inconvenient Indian, and Green Grass, Running Water are often taught.

While we were at it, we let people know about the free open-access web resource we’ve created—the CanLit Guides. We have worked for the past decade to develop this teaching resource that brings research published in the journal into university classrooms. We think it could be of great value to senior high school classes as well (grade 12, AP, and IB English and Social Studies classes particularly). As a reminder: the CanLit Guides contain textbook-style modular chapters and educational activities that we designed to supplement both classroom learning and private study. There are chapters on individual writers and on specific novels, poems, and plays, as well as chapters on Canadian history, literary theory, and culture. There are also some chapters on literary skills like close reading and poetry analysis. Visit to explore this free resource.

We hope that teachers and students across Canada enjoy the print copies of the journal. We really hope they can become valuable resources for high schools. Although we shipped to 300+ schools, we know that there are many that we missed. Please help spread the word! If secondary school librarians contact us (and we have the capacity), we can still send some more back issues out.

Ps. Special Subscription Offer: As part of our Canadian Literature High School Initiative, we are offering secondary schools a special Institutional Subscription Rate for four print copies this year: issues 240-243 for $130 (with GST=$136.50) (instead of the regular institutional rate of $245). This offer is available until June 15, 2020. Please visit

New Issue: 60th Anniversary #239

February 5, 2020

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 239, The 60th Anniversary Issue. Laura Moss writes in her editorial:

Sixty years is a long time for any one thing to exist so we decided to pause, take stock, and honour this milestone. We took advantage of the fact that UBC was hosting the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences under the theme of “Circles of Conversation” in June 2019 and decided to host a few conversations of our own: an academic one on the state of the field; a creative one to share the work of some fine poets who have published in the journal; and a social one to toast the journal, its contributors, and its creators. . . . Over the course of decades, the journal has published thousands of articles, book reviews, and original poems in 239 issues. That’s thousands of voices coming together—sometimes in harmony and sometimes in dissonance—to engage in/with creative and critical writing in Canada and beyond. This issue serves as an example of the continued commitment to thinking critically about the place we stand. The articles take on the environmental crises in Alberta, care relations in Ontario, masculinity in Manitoba, Jewish Canadian writing, and decolonization in British Columbia.

—Laura Moss, “A Diamond Anniversary

This issue also features:

  • A Forum section with meditations on the state of the field and the journal by Lily Cho, Carrie Dawson, Gillian Roberts, and Karina Vernon
  • Articles by Sally Chivers, Jenny Kerber, Aislinn Clare McDougall, Jamie Paris, and Rosemarie Savignac
  • Poetry by Franco Cortese, Cyril Dabydeen, Adrian De Leon, Prathna Lor, David Martin, Melanie Pierluigi, and Meredith Quartermain
  • Reviews by Paul Barrett, Gregory Betts, Magali Blanc, Natalie Boldt, Natalee Caple, Mandy Len Catron, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Sarah Dowling, Chiara Falangola, Alexandre Gauthier, Louis-Serge Gill, Jennifer Hardwick, Carla Harrison, Dallas Hunt, Anne L. Kaufman, Jenny Kerber, Angela Kruger, Amei-Lee Laboucan, Dorothy F. Lane, Andrea MacPherson, Krzysztof Majer, Dougal McNeill, Geordie Miller, Nanette Norris, Heather Olaveson, Claire Omhovère, Robert David Stacey, Neil Surkan, Véronique Trottier, Emily Wall, Paul Watkins, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Suzanne Zelazo
  • Opinions and Notes by Ahmed Joudar and Ruth Panofsky

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

Surveying CanLit: A Presentation-Interview Panel on Course Syllabi

January 28, 2020

What does it mean to “survey” CanLit? At the 2018 meetings of ACCUTE at Congress, a panel of faculty members from across Canada convened to reflect upon a number of practical and pedagogical issues that influence their syllabi, the basis of their choices of texts, the notion of “coverage” of the field, the contingencies of course listings, the texts that come in and out of favour over time, and the changing demographic of students. Canadian Literature is pleased to publish the papers and dialogue from that event in “Surveying CanLit.” As organizer Manina Jones writes in her introduction,

In thinking about where “Canlit” happens, much conversation has taken place around high-profile authors, publishers, and social/media outlets. What about “Canlit” in the classroom, the place where many students encounter “Canlit” as a field? . . . When we create so-called “national survey” courses, we define and challenge historical and cultural borders and boundaries that define the field, and, potentially, open it to further inquiry. . . . [This panel] was meant to both model and prompt the kinds of conversations that go into challenging each other to reflect on and rethink the ways we take up the challenge of surveying Canadian literature.

Surveying CanLit” features presentations, brief questions and responses from the following interlocutors:

  • Manina Jones (University of Western Ontario):
    “Introduction: Surveying Canlit”
  • Lily Cho (York University):
    “Surveying Canlit in Four Scenes and a Counterintuitive Argument for Distance”
  • Laura Moss (University of British Columbia):
    “Infinitely Surveying CanLit”
  • Jennifer Andrews (University of New Brunswick):
    “Surveying Canlit: Making Sense of a Crumbling Edifice”
  • Michelle Coupal (University of Regina):
    “Irreconcilable Spaces: The Canlit Survey Course in the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre Round Room”
  • Stephanie Oliver (University of Alberta):
    “Confronting CanLit’s ‘Dumpster Fire’ Through Backward Course Design”

L-R: Stephanie Oliver, Michelle Coupal, Jennifer Andrews, Laura Moss, Lily Cho, and Manina Jones. May 28, 2018. ACCUTE, University of Regina.

We are delighted to share the panel conversation here on the Special Projects pages of the Canadian Literature website. Thank you to Manina Jones for creating the panel and organizing this special section.

Appel de textes pour le numéro spécial « Chercheur.e.s émergent.e.s, nouvelle édition »

December 10, 2019

Le monde et la discipline de la littérature canadienne ont changé au cours des cinq années qui se sont écoulées depuis l’appel de textes du numéro inaugural destiné aux chercheur.e.s émergent.e.s. Une situation d’urgence climatique a été déclarée. Nous avons assisté à une montée des formes d’exclusion et des dangers liés aux nationalismes, et cela à l’échelle globale. Des guerres et des crises humanitaires ont éclaté. Les manifestations de grande ampleur sont devenues la norme des revendications dans l’espace public. La prolifération des violences sexuelles et des formes d’intimidation a été mise en lumière. Les réseaux sociaux ont à la fois contribué à la création de communautés et sont devenus une plateforme privilégiée sur laquelle exprimer des opinions divergentes. Il semblerait que le monde soit constamment en état d’urgence. Ce temps d’urgence nous engage ainsi dans un désir d’écouter des voix émergentes. Les soumissions reçues pour les deux éditions précédentes dédiées aux « Chercheur.e.s émergent.e.s » ont démontré avec dynamisme quel était l’état de la discipline il y a cinq ans. De quelles manières est-ce que les chercheur.e.s qui définissent et définiront la discipline s’engagent-ils/elles, à l’heure actuelle, avec cette dernière ?

Comment est-ce que les chercheur.e.s émergent.e.s engagent-ils/elles actuellement un discours critique au sujet des œuvres romanesques, du théâtre, de la poésie, des œuvres intermédiales, des textes autobiographiques, des essais littéraires ou des adaptations ? Que ce soit par le biais des humanités environnementales, énergétiques, publiques ou médicales, ou encore à travers les théories critiques de la race, les études décoloniales, les études sur la migration et les réfugié.e.s ou les études du genre, voire depuis des approches critiques différentes, de quelle façon est-ce que les jeunes chercheur.e.s contribuent-ils/elles aux recherches les plus actuelles ? Pour quelles raisons étudier aujourd’hui l’histoire de la littérature ou la réception et les contextes historiques de la production culturelle ?

Une fois de plus, nous nous tournons vers des personnes qui sont (relativement) nouvelles dans la discipline afin de faire une place à de nouveaux travaux de recherche en littérature canadienne. Ce numéro contribuera de cette manière à mettre en lumière les travaux des chercheur.e.s émergent.e.s et à offrir une vitrine aux nouvelles avenues de recherche. Nous invitons les étudiant.e.s aux cycles supérieurs, les chercheur.e.s postdoctoraux et celles et ceux qui se considèrent comme chercheur.e.s émergent.e.s (sans limite d’années d’expérience pour cette catégorie) à soumettre des propositions en français ou en anglais sur tous les sujets.

Nous sommes, dès MAINTENANT, à la recherche de soumissions pour ce numéro, alors n’hésitez pas à partager le mot !

Photo par Alex Radelich sur Unsplash

Tous les textes soumis à Canadian Literature doivent être inédits et donc ne pas avoir fait l’objet d’une publication antérieure. Les textes doivent se conformer au protocole éditorial du MLA (MLA Handbook, 8th éd.). Les articles devront comprendre entre 6500-7000 mots incluant les notes de fin et la bibliographie.

Les articles devront être téléchargés sur le portail OJS au plus tard le 31 janvier 2020. Le protocole de soumission est disponible ici :

Enfin, toutes les questions à propos de ce numéro spécial peuvent être envoyées directement à ou à

Un poste de professeur.e en littérature canadienne à UBC : une nouvelle aventure pour Canadian Literature

November 21, 2019

En 2019, la revue Canadian Literature a célébré son 60e anniversaire… et le Département de langue et de littératures anglaises (Department of English Language and Literatures) a récemment annoncé un nouveau poste de professeur.e agrégé.e/titulaire en littérature canadienne. Mais quel lien entre les deux?

Depuis son inauguration, Canadian Literature a toujours eu pour domicile administratif la Faculté des Arts et, à sa barre, un ou une rédacteur.trice en chef dont le département d’affiliation principal était celui d’études anglaises. Comme le mandat de notre redoutable rédactrice en chef actuelle, Laura Moss, arrive à sa fin, ce n’est pas une mince affaire de trouver la personne qui prendra la relève! De plus, au cours des prochaines années, la revue devra adopter quelques changements pour mieux refléter notre société contemporaine, où le libre accès à l’information est de plus en plus de mise. Ainsi, entre autres, Canadian Literature devra adopter un format en libre accès afin de se conformer aux règlements de financement du CRSH au cours des 3 prochaines années. Outre les tâches éditoriales habituelles — et n’oublions pas tout le travail qui se passe dans les coulisses — le nouveau ou la nouvelle rédacteur.trice en chef devra diriger la revue tout au long de cette transition, et collaborer avec le reste de l’équipe éditoriale afin d’explorer les nouvelles opportunités de diffusion qui s’offrent à nous. Pour reprendre les mots de Bilbo Baggins, « nous partons à l’aventure! »

Restez donc à l’affût, en visitant notre site web, des développements à venir… et, en attendant, pourquoi ne pas contribuer à notre prochain numéro spécial « Emerging Scholars, Redux » ? Les choses ne changent bien évidemment pas seulement à Canadian Literature… nous assistons actuellement à de grands bouleversements, à l’échelle mondiale, qui affectent notre société, nos idéologies, nos vies. Comment les concilier avec les littératures et les arts? Comment nos recherches contribuent-elles à envisager, à créer un meilleur futur, une société plus juste?

—Sarah Henzi, rédactrice adjointe

Stephen Collis wins 2019 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize

November 14, 2019

Congratulations to our former poetry editor Stephen Collis for winning this year’s Latner Writer’s Trust Poetry Prize!

The Prize considers all Canadian poets and awards a mid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work, and in anticipation of future contributions to Canadian poetry.

The Writers’ Trust recognizes Stephen’s works Once in Blockadia (Talonbooks 2016), The Commons (Talonbooks 2014), To the Barricades (Talonbooks 2012), and On the Material (Talonbooks 2010).

Jurors Hoa Nguyen and Margo Wheaton writes:

Through six collections of poems, Stephen Collis has achieved something remarkable: an invigorating body of work that convincingly addresses both the urgency of the present moment and the long echoes of our historical and lyrical past.

In disrupted language simultaneously unsettled and musical, Collis passionately investigates subjects as diverse as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, John Clare and the English countryside, the increasing disappearance of public space, and, in a hauntingly beautiful sequence, the death of his sister from cancer. The depth and scope of Collis’ vision is startling and impressive; so are the courage, precision, and care he brings to the poems he creates.

In Collis, we find a poet ferociously hitting his stride. We’re looking forward with eagerness to what comes next.

Likewise, Canadian Literature is excited to see what’s in store for Stephen and we wish him all the best.


Links to Stephen Collis’ works in Canadian Literature
New York Visitation: 29 July 2009
By Stephen Collis
Published in 21st-Century Poetics. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 210-211 (Autumn/Winter 2011): 133-134

The Kropotkin Poems
By Stephen Collis
Published in Radio, Film, and Fiction. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 225 (Summer 2015): 165-166
Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in Productive Uncertainties by Dougal McNeill
Once in Blockadia
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in Energy Fabulations by William V. Lombardi
Published in Meanwhile, Home. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 232 (Spring 2017): 134-135
To the Barricades
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in The Revolution(ary) Left by Gregory Betts
Published in Science & Canadian Literature. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 221 (Summer 2014): 149-50
Dispatches from the Occupation: A History of Change
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in Occupying Change by Julie L. MacArthur
Published in Contested Migrations. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 219 (Winter 2013): 148-49
By Jordan Scott and Stephen Collis
Reviewed in Pipelines, Decomposition and Poetic Activism by Laura Moss
Published in Of Borders and Bioregions. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 218 (Autumn 2013): 140-43
On the Material
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in Poetic Off-roading and the Roads More Travelled by Joel Deshaye
Published in Canadian Literature 212 (Spring 2012): 142-144
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in Mine Not Mine by Robert Stanton
Published in Writers Talking. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 183 (Winter 2004): 109-110
The Commons
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in The Utopia of a Remembered Spring by Emily Wall
Published in Disappearance and Mobility. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 201 (Summer 2009): 176-178
Phyllis Webb and the Common Good: Poetry/Anarchy/Abstraction
By Stephen Collis
Reviewed in The Poetics of Response and Response-ability by Amanda Lim
Published in Diasporic Women’s Writing. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 196 (Spring 2008): 140-141

Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Emerging Scholars, Redux”

October 29, 2019

In the five years since the first call for our inaugural Emerging Scholars issue, both the world and the field of Canadian literature have changed. A climate emergency has been declared. There has been a global rise in dangerous and exclusionary forms of nationalism. There have been wars and humanitarian crises. Large-scale public protest has become the norm. There has been a spotlight on the pervasiveness of sexual violence, intimidation, and bullying. Social media has both helped create communities and become a place for sharp dissent. We seem to be living in a state of sustained urgency. Urgent times prompt us to want to hear from emergent voices. The submissions for the first two Emerging Scholars issues (226, 228/9) dynamically showed the state of the field five years ago. How are researchers who will shape the field and its future engaging with it today?

How do emerging scholars critically engage with works of fiction, drama, poetry, intermedia, memoire, creative nonfiction, or adaptation today. Whether through a lens of environmental, energy, public, or medical humanities, or by way of critical race, decolonial, migration, refugee, or gender studies, or any other approach, what are newer scholars contributing to contemporary scholarship? Why study the history of literature and the historical contexts of cultural production and reception today?

We again turn to people who are (relatively) new to the field to call attention to new work in the field of Canadian literature. This issue will highlight the work of Emerging Scholars and showcase the directions the field is taking. We welcome submissions on any topic in English or French from senior graduate students, postdocs, and those who might consider themselves to be Emerging Scholars (we place no time limit on this category).

We are actively seeking submissions for this issue NOW, so please help spread the word!

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 8th ed.). Word length for articles is 6,500-7,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.

Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of January 31, 2020. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at

Questions about the special issue may be directed to or

New Issue: Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings #238

October 4, 2019

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings. In her editorial, guest editor Eva Darias-Beautell reminds us of the original questions posed in the initial Call for Papers for this special issue: “How are Canadian texts read and circulated beyond the national borders? What is the place of Canadian literature in the institutional spaces of universities outside Canada? Are there defining differences in the ways non-Canadian scholars approach CanLit? And how does transnational scholarship influence, challenge, enrich and rescale Canadian literary production?” She further elucidates the concept of “Rescaling CanLit”:

Rescaling in this sense means recontextualizing, establishing the value of Canadian writing on a different scale, shifting the site of reading to look at texts from new critical lenses. While it is now commonly accepted that Canadian literature has become a global literature, implying that any understanding of textual localities is traversed by vectors that exceed, complicate, and extend the nation in literal and metaphorical ways, the gaze is seldom reversed and little attention has been paid to the role of international scholarship in the current transformation of the field.

—Eva Darias-Beautell, “Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Simona Bertacco, Anna Branach-Kallas, Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Hsiu-chuan Lee, and Kristiana Karathanassis and Andrea King
  • Poetry by John Donlan, Chris Johnson, Sherry Johnson, Jake Kennedy, Shane Neilson, and Catherine Owen
  • Reviews by Zachary Abram, Joel Baetz, Emily Ballantyne, Alex Bellemare, Gregory Betts, Nicole Birch-Bayley, Myra Bloom, Natalie Boldt, Liza Bolen, Marie-Eve Bradette, Nicholas Bradley, Sunny Chan, Tim Conley, Paul Denham, Joel Deshaye, Jamie Dopp, Scott Duchesne, Margery Fee, Ryan Fitzpatrick, James Gifford, Patricia Godbout, Dominique Hétu, Nancy Holmes, Evangeline Holtz Schramek,Weldon Hunter, Renée Jackson-Harper, Suzanne James, Jenny Kerber, Daniel Laforest, Rebekah Ludolph, Jessi MacEachern, Kenneth Meadwell, Dana Medoro, Jean-Sébastien Ménard, Geordie Miller, Nathaniel G. Moore, Saghar Najafi, Catherine Owen, Olivia Pelegrino, Carl Peters, Richard Pickard, Catherine Rainwater, Madeleine Reddon, Michael Roberson, Laurel Ryan, Dani Spinosa, Neil Surkan, Dale Tracy, Véronique Trottier, Hilary Turner, Nathalie Warren, Carl Watts, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, Bart H. Welling, R. J. (Ron) Welwood, Kinga Zawada, and Suzanna Zelazo
  • Opinions and Notes by Tereza Virginia de Almeida

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