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Afterworlds In this virtuoso new work, the poems range from simple lyrical statements through nostalgic comedy to deeply moving political meditations At the centre of the book, two long works, Letters to Josef in Jerusalem and Terror and Erebus, demonstrate clearly why George Woodcock has said There are few Canadian poets with a grasp as broad as MacEwen s of the poetic dimensions of history

About the Author: Gwendolyn MacEwen

Gwendolyn MacEwen was one of Canada s most celebrated writers publishing several stories and many works of poetry throughout her career She was born in Toronto, Ontario on September 1, 1941 to Elsie and Alick MacEwen As a child she attended public schools in both Toronto and Winnipeg, and when she was seventeen her first poem was published in the Canadian Forum, a journal which published the works of both new and renowned writers At the age of eighteen she left school to pursue a full time career as a writer and at the same time opened a Toronto coffee house, The Trojan Horse As a child Gwendolyn didn t get the best care from her parents Her mother was mentally unstable, spending most of her life in institutions and her father was largely an alcoholic However this may have been what led to her writing being so heavily focused on mythology, dreams, magic, and history After leaving school Gwendolyn taught herself several different languages including Greek, French, Arabic and Hebrew, which she used to translate many of her poems Her fluency in several languages is what most likely encouraged her to make references to cultures outside of Canada Gwendolyn tended to focus onsurreal ideas in her writing and she had her own unique way of expressing them when compared to other poets from her time A lot of her poetry involved changing the surrealism into reality by using strong imagery and often allegory The cultures she studied often showed up in her work as part of the overall imagery and allusions to historical events were quite common.Her volume of poems The Shadow Maker won the Governor General s Award in 1969 and included many poems such as her famous Dark Pines Under Water During the mid eighties she was a writer in residence at the University of Western Ontario and then later the University of Toronto Gwendolyn died in 1987 at the age of 46 from what was believed to have been health problems due to alcohol Although she was not alive to be present, later that year her collection Afterworlds was awarded the Governor General s Award, making it the second time her work had won such a prestigious honour.

10 thoughts on “Afterworlds

  1. says:

    Brilliant collections of poemsThe Man with the Three Violins is one of the best things I have ever read it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

  2. says:

    This was a confident collection of poems, although there were some definite highs and lows She has a tendancy to write with very minimal imagery and that starts leaning toward telling rather than showing.I particularly enjo

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