Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography General

Cold Comfort

Growing Up Cold War

by (author) Gil McElroy

Initial publish date
May 2012
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


When his father died, award-winning poet Gil McElroy was given a box of photographs that documented his father’s work on the Canadian military’s northern Distant Early Warning Line in the 1950s. Image by image, McElroy attempts to come to terms with the mysterious photographer—a man better understood by his military compatriots than by his own family—and in so doing begins to reckon with his own experience growing up as an itinerant “military brat.”
Photographs and text add to the scant documentation of building Canada’s DEW Line defense network.

About the author

Born in Metz, France, poet Gil McElroy grew up on air force bases in Canada and the United States. He studied English Literature at Queen’s University in Ontario. His poems and other works have been published in countless periodicals throughout North America since the late 1970s; issued in a number of self-published chapbooks, broadsheets, and one-of-a-kind book works; and anthologized in Groundswell: best of above/ground press, 1993–2003 (Broken Jaw Press, 2003), Side/Lines: A New Canadian Poetics (Insomniac Press, 2003), and Written in the Skin (Insomniac Press, 1999). He currently lives in Colborne, Ontario with his wife Heather.

McElroy has also been an independent curator and freelance art critic for 20 years, organizing exhibitions for public art galleries and museums in Canada and writing art criticism for magazines in Canada, the United States and Australia. A selection of his catalogue essays and reviews was published as Gravity & Grace: Selected Writing on Contemporary Canadian Art (Gaspereau Press, 2001) and in the anthology CRAFT Perception and Practice: A Canadian Discourse (Ronsdale Press, 2002). His show ST. ART: The Visual Poetry of bpNichol pays tribute to one of the great poets of the twentieth century. Originally mounted at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum in Charlottetown, P.E.I. in May through October, 2000, it later moved to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia before touring the country throughout 2001. McElroy’s curatorial essay accompanying the exhibition also won the Christina Sabat Award for Critical Writing in the Arts.

Gil McElroy's profile page

Other titles by Gil McElroy