When he published Alligator Pie in 1974, Dennis Lee (1939-) was an established full-time author, following stints as a university professor and publisher, co-founding the House of Anansi in 1967. His Civil Elegies and Other Poems had won the Governor General’s Award for poetry in 1972, but Lee’s greatest fame was to come from simple rhymes, written at first for his own children, to give them what Sheila Egoff described as “a sense of their own particular time and space.” Those rhymes were quickly adopted by generations of children across Canada.
The period between 1913 (the year of E. Pauline Johnson’s death) and 1960 (roughly when the modern cultural renaissance of Canada's Aboriginal peoples began) is sometimes regarded as having been void of Aboriginal literary production. But some Aboriginal peoples, perhaps for the first time, used print and publishing during this period to communicate with other Aboriginal peoples in Canada and internationally. Works by Edward Ahenakew and Ethel Brant Monture exemplify the continuum of Aboriginal writing in Canada from the early nineteenth century through to contemporary times, as do such widely read Aboriginal authors as Maria Campbell and Basil Johnston (who often signed his letters "Yours Aboriginally").
Since the mid-1960s, Coach House Press has published poetry, literature, and drama and printed memorable ephemera. From its quirky, well-worn buildings in Toronto, it has produced finely-crafted books for some of the country’s most esteemed authors, brought new writers to the Canadian public, and made a name for itself as it moved from hand-presses and photography to the innovative use of computer technology. In 1997 it became the world’s first publisher of full-text online books of poetry and fiction. This study presents a brief history of the press and features a video tour of Coach House by its founder, Stan Bevington.
Nineteenth-century Canada had such small markets that publishers regularly asked authors to sell books by subscription to cover production costs before printing took place. Few detailed records remain from that era, but the subscription book for the first edition of Canadian Wild Flowers and a second one for the third edition have survived. These volumes list the fascinating clientele who signed up for one of the most beautiful and expensive books of the day.
Through his long and prolific publishing career, Al Purdy helped define a “Canadian identity.” The first and only opinion-piece anthology Purdy edited was The New Romans: Candid Canadian Opinions of the United States (1968), a project he worked on with publisher Mel Hurtig. Emerging at a time when Canadian nationalism was a dominant cultural, economic, and political concern, The New Romans was perhaps Purdy’s most overtly political publishing endeavor.
Alan Crawley and Contemporary Verse played an important role in building and sustaining the Canadian poetry community over the 1940s and 1950s. The letters and press clippings housed at Queen's University Archives testify to the strength of Crawley's editorial vision and CV's impact on Canadian poetry.
An editor can take on different roles for different writers: eagle-eyed reader, hand-holding cheerleader, or tough-love booster. In the end, however, the editor’s role is single-minded: to bring out the best work in the writer, by whatever means possible. The communications between writer Alberto Manguel and his editor, Louise Dennys, perfectly illustrate this complex and creative relationship.
The contributions of C.W. Jefferys to the evolution of historical illustration in Canada are revealed through an analysis of his publications and a review of correspondence and speeches. Letters reveal that Jefferys exercised great artistic control during the conception and production of his book illustrations and set strict conditions with publishers. Jefferys is notable, too, for the manner in which his illustrations reflected the attitudes and expectations of his audiences.
Despite his status as one of Canada’s most celebrated poets, Archibald Lampman published the majority of his poetry abroad. This case study explores Lampman’s largely foreign publishing history, and his frustration with the limited homegrown opportunities afforded to the Canadian poet of his time.
In their annual notice to subscribers of Barbarian Press’ Endgrain Editions in 2006, Crispin and Jan Elsted tell a story of a young man – “his manner full of despair” – querying the Elsteds as to why they bothered to continue making books, particularly “when no one cares about anything anymore.” The question was even more acute since the Elsteds are not your typical book makers. They are a throwback: eschewing current methods of book making – using computers for every step of production, for example – they instead produce, out of their farmhouse in Mission, B.C., some of the finest handcrafted, letter pressed works in the world.