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Poetry Canadian

After Exile

A Raymond Knister Poetry Reader

by (author) Raymond Knister

edited by Gregory Betts

Exile Editions
Initial publish date
Apr 2011
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2011
    List Price

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After Exile: A Raymond Knister Poetry Reader is the finest collection of Knister’s verse available. It represents a major step forward, collecting dozens of poems for the first time in book form, and printing 30 more poems, on top of numer- ous letters and prose pieces, for the first time ever.

The title After Exile is plucked from Knister’s long poem written after he returned from Chicago and decided to become the unthinkable: a modernist Canadian writer. Knister, writing in the 20s and 30s, could barely get his poems published in Canada, but magazines like This Quarter (Paris), Poetry (Chicago), Voices (Boston), and The Dial (New York City), eagerly printed what he sent, and always asked for more, and the more of what he had – all of it – is in this book. Exile brings together all the known poems of Raymond Knister and offers a peek into the world in which they were created.

About the authors

Raymond Knister (1899-1932) was a Canadian novelist, short story writer and poet who drowned in Lake St. Clair as he was becoming internationally recognized. A a friend and contemporary of Morley Callaghan, Mr. Knister had just begun to win major prizes, and had been published across the Atlantic alongside Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. He had also edited the first collection of Canadian short stories, and was at work on a number of books before his untimely death. A practitioner of the poetic school known as “imagism,” many of his works evoke rural themes, often depicting life in Southwestern Ontario in the late 1910s and early 1920s.

Raymond Knister's profile page

GREGORY BETTS is a poet, editor, essayist and teacher, originally from Vancouver and Toronto. Since his first published poem, an anagrammatical translation of a short poem by bpNichol, Betts's work has consistently troubled individual authorship through such mechanisms as anagrams, collaboration, found-texts and response-text writing. If Language presents paragraph-length anagrams that explore the formation of meaning within a recombinant linguistic system. Haikube was part of a collaborative art project with sculptors Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel in which six of Betts's poems were carved into an ebony movable (a la Rubiks) cube. The text was carved in negative relief, which allowed the cube to function as a press block to print new poems as they were 'discovered' by moving the sides of the cube. Betts currently lives in St. Catharines, where he edits PRECIPICe magazine, curates the Grey Borders Reading Series and teaches Avant-Garde and Canadian Literature at Brock University.

Gregory Betts' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“What I appreciate most about this collection is its handiness . . . . It’s a great primer on Knister (and Canadian Modernism of the 1920s–1930s), produced with concision and with an eye to being readable and utilitarian.”  —Stephen Cain, author, American Standard/Canada Dry

“An example of the type of excellent literary history that Exile Editions has made a minor specialty of.”  —George Fetherling, Vancouver Sun

“[Knister’s] work is exemplified by simple straightforward stanzas about modern life and aims at the starkness of absolute truth. ”  —Anne Burke, editor, Prairie Journal

Other titles by Raymond Knister

Other titles by Gregory Betts