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Poetry Canadian

Archive For Our Times

Previously Uncollected and Unpublished Poems of Dorothy Livesay

by (author) Dorothy Livesay

edited by Dean Irvine

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Oct 1998
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 1998
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Above all
a poem records speech:
the way it was said
between people animals birds
a poem is an archive for our times
-Dorothy Livesay, "Anything Goes"
Dorothy Livesay, who died in 1996, is considered a pioneer of Canadian poetry; her work is infused with an extraordinary grace and power, and shaped by a prescient feminist sensibility which led her to be called "a voice of women." She published more than 25 books of poetry and prose, as well as an autobiography in 1991. She is regarded as a major influence for many writers, not only for her poetry but for the remarkable way in which she lived her life.
Archive for Our Times is a major undertaking: a collection of poems by Dorothy Livesay never before published, discovered in her archives and published in this volume with the blessings of the Livesay estate. The collection is a compelling record of Livesay's poetic, and a revealing and intimate portrayal of the writing life. As Livesay herself wrote in the poem "Memo to My Daughter," "The record of our life--is lived in secret--inside the head." With this in mind, Archive for Our Times is a gift: a rare opportunity to experience the feral beauty of the poetry of Dorothy Livesay.

About the authors

Dorothy Livesay’s first book was published in 1928, Green Pitcher (Macmillan), followed by: Signpost (Macmillan, 1932), Day and Night (Ryerson, 1944), Poems for People (Ryerson, 1947), Call My People Home (Ryerson, 1950), New Poems (Emblem, 1955) Selected Poems (Ryerson, 1957), The Unquiet Bed (Ryerson, 1967), The Documentaries (Ryerson, 1968), Plainsongs (Fiddlehead, 1969), Disasters of the Sun (Blackfish, 1971), Collected Poems: The Two Seasons (McGraw-Hill, 1972), Nine Poems of Farewell (Black Moss, 1973), Winnipeg Childhood (Pequis Press, 1973), The Raw Edges (Turnstone, 1981), The Phases of Love (Coach House, 1983) and Feeling the Worlds (Goose Lane/Fiddlehead, 1984). With Beach Holme she has published Ice Age (1975), The Woman I Am (1977), Right Hand, Left Hand (1977) and The Self-Completing Tree (Beach Holme, 1999). She is also the winner of two Governor General’s Awards (1944 and 1947) and the Queen’s Medal. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada (1987), and is considered by many to be the Grand Dame of Canadian poetry. She has had a long career in Canada, the U.S. and Zambia working as an editor, broadcast journalist and university professor with degrees from UBC and U of T in Modern Languages, Education and Social Work as well as a diploma from Sorbonne in Paris. She was the founder, and for many years editor, of the literary quarterly CVII. She is also a founding member of Amnesty International (Canada), the Committee for an Independent Canada, and the League of Canadian Poets. The B.C. book prize for poetry is named in her honour. Dorothy Livesay passed away in 1996 but her contribution to Canadian literature will live on forever.

Dorothy Livesay's profile page

Dean Irvine is an associate professor in the Department of English at Dalhousie University and director of the SSHRC-funded Editing Modernism in Canada project. He is the author of Editing Modernity: Women and Little-Magazine Cultures in Canada, 1916-1956 (University of Toronto Press, 2008), and editor of Archive For Our Times: Previously Uncollected and Unpublished Poems of Dorothy Livesay (Arsenal Pulp, 1998), Heresies: The Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson, 1924-61 (Vehicule, 2003), and The Canadian Modernists Meet (University of Ottawa Press, 2005). His forthcoming work includes a new monograph, Variant Readings: Editing Canadian Literature in English, under contract to McGill-Queen's University Press, and a two-volume critical edition, co-edited with Robert G. May, of F.R. Scott's complete poems and translations. He is a general editor, with Zailig Pollock and Sandra Djwa, of the multivolume print edition and digital archive of the collected works of P.K. Page and the director and English-language general editor of the University of Ottawa Press's Canadian Literature Collection/Collection de littérature canadienne.

Dean Irvine's profile page

Editorial Reviews

A bonanza!
-The Globe and Mail

The Globe & Mail

Other titles by Dorothy Livesay

Other titles by Dean Irvine