The CanLit Guides 2018 Collection: Chapter Spotlight — Listening to Canada: The Weakerthans’ “One Great City!”

The Weakerthans performing live at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg, 2007. Wikimedia Commons

Music! Canadian literature! Manitoba! Read all about these topics in Bronwyn Malloy’s CanLit Guides chapter “Listening to Canada: The Weakerthans’ “One Great City!”

This chapter considers the roles of locality and identity in John K. Samson’s song lyrics, particularly through Samson’s evocations of the people, landmarks, and history of Winnipeg, Manitoba in “One Great City!” Locality means the particular place or position of something, and is related to the idea of the “local,” which connotes a specialized knowledge about a certain place or community by virtue of being part of it. Samson, a lifelong Winnipeg resident frequently termed “the poet laureate of Winnipeg rock” (Sorensen), has often made the city his unlikely muse, saying, “I think of Winnipeg as my subject . . . that I’m always trying to get right. . . . Even if I leave, I’ll always be writing about this place” (qtd. in Chong 77).

Read “Listening to Canada: The Weakerthans’ “One Great City!”

CanLit Guides, created and maintained by Canadian Literature, is a open-access collection of learning materials on different topics in the field of Canadian literature. The CanLit Guides 2018 Collection is the result of collaboration between experts in the field and our editorial team. The chapters here cover a range of topics, time periods, and genres, and show the dynamic ways scholars are engaging with literatures in Canada today.