Spreading Time: Remarks on Canadian Writing and Writers, 1904-1949

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Véhicule Press, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 163 pages
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Earle Birney has created a unique memoir that spans four decades. By linking together book reviews, magazine articles, editorials, and radio broadcasts with reminiscences of his childhood, education, and early teaching and writing career, Birney presents the reader with an exciting view of the early days of modern Canadian literature. He writes of meeting and corresponding with Bliss Carmen, Raymond Souster, A.J.M. Smith, P.K. Page, Malcolm Lowry, Pierre Berton, George Woodcock, and James Reaney among others—a pantheon of Canadian writers.

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UNPUBLISHED ESSAY 1926 The HalfCanadian Poet
Canadian Poem of the Year

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About the author (1989)

Earle Birney was born in Calgary, Alberta, and raised in rural Alberta and British Columbia. To earn money for college, Birney held a variety of jobs involving manual labor before enrolling at the University of British Columbia in 1922. Clearly, both his studies and his experience in the labor force gave to his poetry a wide variety of themes and situations. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1938, Birney accepted a position at the University of Toronto, where he worked until he joined the army in 1942. After serving as a personnel officer during the war, he obtained a professorship in medieval literature at the University of British Columbia, a post from which he retired in 1965. Birney's poetry has received recognition both in Canada and abroad. He is credited with introducing into Canadian poetry a metrics based on everyday speech rather than on artificial cadences. His visual poems are considered the forerunners of concrete poetry and his experiments with sound the forerunners of sound poetry in Canada. Since publishing his first book of poems, David and Other Poems, in 1942, Birney has published 15 more volumes of verse, two novels, and several books of critical writing. In The Cow Jumped over the Moon (1972), he describes about the composition of his own poetry. Earle Birney's works include Spreading Time: Remarks on Canadian Writing and Writers, 1904-1949, Last Makings: Poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, and One Muddy Hand: Selected Poems. Earle Birney passed away in September 1995 of a heart attack.

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