Rescaling Robert Kroetsch: A Reading across Communities, Borders, and Practices


A lot has been written on Robert Kroetsch in Canada and in Europe, throughout the past half a century, but curiously not in the United States. Reflecting on the possible reasons why Kroetsch is not better-known, more famous and influential in American literature is of import in this essay, since so much of Kroetsch’s poetry organically aligns with the movements and poetic practices across the border. This paper will look at three communities deemed essential to understand Kroetsch’s poetry: the first steps of a postmodern community in North America as a cross-border community, given to the exploration of new forms of thinking art and activism in the Vietnam War years and coalescing around the journal Boundary 2; the Canadian Prairies and the network of writers with whom Kroetsch was in constant dialogue throughout his career; and the “transgeographic network” (Beach) of North American postmodern poets, influenced by the lesson of Charles Olson, that offers a new way of reading Kroetsch today by situating him within a wider intellectual ensemble.

This article “Rescaling Robert Kroetsch: A Reading across Communities, Borders, and Practices” originally appeared in Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 238 (2019): 30-45.

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