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list price: $22.95
edition:Paperback
category: Photography
published: Oct 2016
ISBN:9780889843967
publisher: Porcupine's Quill

Portraits of Canadian Writers

by Bruce Meyer

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0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $22.95
edition:Paperback
category: Photography
published: Oct 2016
ISBN:9780889843967
publisher: Porcupine's Quill
Description

In Portraits of Canadian Writers, Bruce Meyer shares the portraits of some of Canada's most beloved writers alongside anecdotes that reveal their personalities.

About the Author

Bruce Meyer was born in Toronto in 1957 and has lived in Toronto, Hamilton, London, Dublin, and Windsor. Hereceived his B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of Toronto. After completing his Masters, he lived in England where traveled and interviewed British poets in preparation for his doctoral thesis. He received his Ph.D. at McMaster University. From 1988 to 1990, he held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Canadian and Modern British Literature at McMaster University. He has taught at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, the University of Windsor, Seneca College at York, Seneca College, Skidmore College, Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, and was Visiting Writer/Writer-in-Residence at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2003 when he made the decision to return to his first love, teaching, he has taught the Great Books in his current work as professor of English in the Laurentian University B.A. Program at Georgian College in Barrie and Orillia, and as a professor of Continuing Education at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.

            From 1996 to 2003, he was Director of the Writing and Literature Program at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies where he created and managed programs in Creative Writing, Professional Writing and Literary Studies. In 2000, he gave the annual Whidden Lecture at McMaster University, a distinction previously bestowed on Robert J. Oppenheimer, Hans Selye, Tom Stoppoard and Bruno Bettelheim. He is currently Artistic Director of the annual Leacock Summer Festival of Canadian Literature in Orillia, Ontario. A frequent broadcaster on CBC Radio One, his conversations, The Great Books (three volumes), A Novel Idea, andGreat Poetry: Poetry is Life and Vice Versa with Michael Enright are the network’s best-selling audiocassette and cd spoken word series. He has also been a regular literary personality on TV Ontario’s More to Life.

            In addition to his teaching and broadcasting activities, Meyer has published twenty-seven books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, textbooks and anthologies, and critical monographs. His poetry collections are The Open Room (1989), Radio Silence (1991), The Presence (1996), Anywhere (2000), The Spirit Bride (2002), Oceans (2004), and As Yet, Untitled…(2006), and he has published three poetry chapbooks, The Tongues Between Us (1981), The Aging of America (1982), and with James Deahl and Gilda Mekler, Steel Valley (1984). He has published two collections of short fiction: Goodbye Mr. Spalding (1996) and Flights (2005). With Barry Callaghan, he co-edited The Selected Poems of Frank Prewett (1997 and 2001), and the first anthology of World War One Canadian writing to be published since 1918, We Wasn’t Pals: Canadian Poetry and Prose of the First World War (2001). With Jonathan Barron, he co-edited The Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 282: The New Formalism (2005), and with Carolyn Meyer he co-edited The Reader: Contemporary Essays and Essay Strategies (2004) and Separate Islands: Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (1988). His other works include two volumes of interviews with Canadian writers co-authored with Brian O’Riordan, In Their Words: Interviews with Fourteen Canadian Writers (1985) and Lives and Works: Canadian Authors in Conversation (1991).  With James Deahl, he co-edited the first edition of Poetry Markets for Canadians  (1984). His other works include Arrivals: Canadian Poetry (1986), The Bae Sah Moh Anthology: Young Korean Canadian Writers (2007), and an edition of James Hanley’s The German Prisoner (2007).

            He has contributed to numerous scholarly reference volumes including The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature (1983, 1997), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry (1996), Contemporary Poets (1993), Literature in English (1996), and Poetry for Students (1997, 1998, 1999). He has worked as an editor for Descant, Quarry, Cross-Canada Writers’ Quarterly, Poetry Canada Review, Argo (UK), The Greenfield Review (US), Edge City Review (US), The University of Toronto Review, and Acta Victoriana.

            Meyer has won several prizes for his writing including the E.J. Pratt Gold Medal and Prize for Poetry (1980, 1981), the Alta Lind Cook Award for Writing (1981, 1982), the Ruth Cable Memorial Prize (1996), the Word Press Prize (2004), the Daesan Foundation International Prize for Translation (2006) and was a finalist for the Bridport Prize (2005), the Gerald Lampert Award (1989) and the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry (2000). His work as bibliographer for the website for the CBC’s Canada: A People’s History was part of the Baedeck Award-winning package for the best educational website. He was recipient of a Toronto Arts Council Award (2006) and an Ontario Arts Council Works-in-Progress Grant (2005), as well as numerous Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Grants. During his doctoral work he was a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Fellowship, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, the McMaster University Graduate Fellowship, and the McMaster University Graduate Travel Fellowship. He is one of only two living Torontonians to be quoted on a Heritage Toronto marker, that to mark the site of the city’s first baseball stadium, Sunlight Park. In 1997, he received an honorary lifetime donor’s pass to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

            He lives in Toronto with his wife Kerry and daughter Katie.

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Editorial Reviews

What takes the collection to an exceptional level is Meyer's devotion to and passion for Canada's literary legacy.

Bruce Meyer's Portraits of Canadian Writers compiles nearly two hundred photographic portraits of literary notables from Canada's various provinces, combining intuitive camera work with short anecdotal or biographical profiles.

Though Meyer is primarily a writer, poet, arts advocate, and educator, his photographic skills are enhanced by his own knowledge of the writing life, as well as an insight into the complex, often evasive nature of his fellow wordsmiths.

Meyer began work on this collection of portraits and their accompanying interviews in the early 1980s, using a Pentax camera and black-and-white film. Natural light prevailed over the brightness of flash, with the resulting photographs varying from striking to somber, warmly candid and intimately accessible to determinedly detached and distant. The portraits are paired with brief yet distinctive pages of text by Meyer, generally a personal connection to or memory of meeting each particular subject.

Among the more famed names are novelists Margaret Atwood and Joy Kogawa, poets Dorothy Livesay and Elizabeth Smart, and troubadour/author/musician Leonard Cohen. Cohen graciously offered "a spread of schnapps, matzah, kosher dills and Montreal smoked meats" and played a song he was working on at the time. This "pop song about holiness," as Cohen described it, would ultimately become the haunting ballad "Hallelujah." Cohen posed for three portraits, offering glimpses of his deeper artistic side along with a somewhat more jocular showmanship.

From Lorna Crozier's standing before a fruit and vegetable stand in honor of her erotic poetic parody "The Sex Life of Vegetables" to Austin Clarke's fondness for London gin martinis, Portraits of Canadian Writers brings life and intriguing detail to these contemporary literary figures. Meyer notes how Neil Bissoondath had the tenacity to wake before dawn and methodically craft a first collection of short stories before heading to his day job. The intense poet Milton Acorn often stayed at a run-down Toronto transient hotel, his room unusually "bright and sunny" amid the otherwise hellish corridors. Catherine Owen's smile seems serenely untroubled, yet her work is expansive and mystical.

Portraits of Canadian Writers could be described as an admirable project, but what takes the collection to an exceptional level is Meyer's devotion to and passion for Canada's literary legacy. His impressions of and meetings with these portrait subjects are memorably joyous, quirky, respectful, and poignant by turns, with his ultimate goal being to bring well-deserved recognition to such a diverse group and all "the dreams they put into words."

— Foreword Reviews

'[T]he world being created in this fascinating collection is very much a memoir of sorts, through the eyes of Bruce Meyer, the author of nearly 50 books of non-fiction and poetry. We learn much about him, what attracted him to these writers, but more importantly, as anyone who has done interviews realizes, we discover what follows from these interactions is that we come away with a veritable sense of something more intimate, more personal. That couldn't happen without Bruce Meyer, without his perspective, his curiosity, and his camera. This book serves as a significant document that in a way taps us on the shoulder and reminds us that the twists and turns our literature has taken has its origins here in the lives of these individuals. In that way, Portraits of Canadian Writers is a trusty guide to our writing, and maybe explains why it has blossomed.'

— Marty Gervais

'Yes, this is a book that should be in every Canadian library for reference but it is also a book that should be read and discussed. Not in a critical way but one that starts thought process and spawns reflections and considerations. It is a gifted read. And charming one at times.

'Bruce Meyer has given us readers a serious bit of enlightenment for our minds with his Portraits of Canadian Writers. The combination of writing and images engage any reader's complete psyche and give insight to some of Canada's greatest wordsmiths.'

— The Library of Pacific Tranquility

'Chock full of lovely verse, laughs, and a lot to learn...'

— The Baron

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