This volume represents the accumulated richness of fifty years' work by one of Canada's most important poets, Patrick Lane. Here, the reader can see how he developed from an engaged recorder of hard experience—even traumatic violence—into a master poet whose meditations on nature, human frailty, and love allow him to balance the world's suffering with stunning moments of transcendent beauty and a vision of peace. He expresses himself in a variety of forms and tones--in turn despairing and rejoicing, tender and brutal, imagistic and elegiac, deeply personal and universal. As Nicholas Bradley observes, in an afterword written for this volume, "The journey that Lane's works trace has been long and hard, but, as this collection demonstrates, his poems achieve both understanding and grace."
Edited by two distinguished scholars of Canadian literature, this long-overdue book gathers a lifetime of work. Ranging from Letters from a Savage Mind (1966) to Witness (2010), this collection contains more than four hundred poems (many revised for this publication) and demonstrates the breadth of Lane's achievement.
About the authors
Patrick Lane, considered by most writers and critics to be one of Canada's finest poets, was born in 1939 in Nelson, BC. He grew up in the Kootenay and Okanagan regions of the BC Interior, primarily in Vernon. He came to Vancouver and co-founded a small press, Very Stone House, with bill bissett and Seymour Mayne. He then drifted extensively throughout North and South America. He worked at a variety of jobs, from labourer to industrial accountant, but much of his life was spent as a poet. He was also the father of five children and grandfather of nine. He won nearly every literary prize in Canada, from the Governor General's Literary Award to the Canadian Authors Association Award to the Dorothy Livesay Prize. In 2014, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada, an honour that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree. His poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and translated into many languages. His more recent books include Witness: Selected Poems 1962-2010 (Harbour Publishing, 2010), The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane (Harbour Publishing, 2011), Washita (Harbour Publishing, 2014; shortlisted for the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award), Deep River Night (McClelland & Stewart, 2018) and a posthumous collection, The Quiet in Me (Harbour Publishing, 2022). Lane spent the later part of his life in Victoria, BC, with his wife, the poet Lorna Crozier. He died in 2019.
Russell Morton Brown is a professor in the department of English at the University of Toronto. An editor for the University of Toronto Quarterly, the editor of The Collected Poems of Al Purdy, and co-editor with Donna Bennett of the New Anthology of Canadian Literature in English, he was also Editorial Director of Poetry at McClelland and Stewart for five years.
Nicholas Bradley is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. He is the editor of We Go Far Back in Time: The Letters of Earle Birney and Al Purdy, 1947–1987 (2014) and An Echo in the Mountains: Al Purdy after a Century (2020), and the author of Rain Shadow (2018). He is also an associate editor of the journal Canadian Literature.
Donna Bennett is an emeritus professor at the University of Toronto. She has edited a number of volumes, including An Anthology of Canadian Literature in English, and Canadian Short Stories. Her essays on Canadian literature have been widely reprinted.