About the Author

Susan Glickman

Born to Canadians living in Baltimore, MD, Susan Glickman convinced her parents to move home to Montreal at the age of one and a half. But that initial sense of being from somewhere never left her. She has lived in England, the United States, and Greece and extensively travelled across Europe, Asia, and America before settling in Toronto. Glickman's love for travel is matched by her love for books. She has worked in bookstores, in publishing, and as an English professor at the University of Toronto. Known for her lithe, rich poetry and brilliant literary criticism, Susan Glickman is the author of five highly regarded poetry collections, including Running in Prospect Cemetery: New & Selected Poems. Her critical study, The Picturesque and the Sublime: Poetics of the Canadian Landscape, won both the Gabrielle Roy Prize and the Raymond Klibansky Prize. Susan Glickman has been described as one of the finest of Canadian authors. She is a confident, gifted writer whose poetry and fiction exemplify beauty, insight, and power.

Books by this Author
Artful Flight

Artful Flight

Essays and Reviews 1985-2019
edition:Paperback
More Info
Excerpt

From the Introduction

In June of 2017, I began putting together a selection of my essays and reviews. Because I had blithely binned some of these pieces just three years prior-when I gave my musician son my office to turn into his music studio and moved myself into a smaller space, recycling 25 bags of paper in the process-I spent that summer sleuthing out lost work on the internet and at the library, retyping some essays and photocopying others. Eventually I had over 500 pages of prose, including teaching notes, online interviews, and letters written in answer to high school and university students' questions about my books.

Even I was surprised to discover how much fugitive prose I had written since the early 1980s, when I finished a doctorate on Shakespeare's dramaturgy and started teaching at the University of Toronto. I'd never published anything on my thesis topic, having recognized belatedly-when my first book of poetry came out in 1983 and the English Department insisted that 'it didn't count as a publication'-that I would have to establish expertise in a different area to find a job that rewarded creative work. So instead of seeking further employment as a Renaissance scholar I got a post-doctoral fellowship, which became The Picturesque and the Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape (1998). During those years of study, I read and wrote about as much Canadian poetry as I could. Many of the critical pieces included here were written then.

After I dropped out of academia for a few years to have children, those doors swung shut behind me and I never got my 'career' back. But I had already got in the habit of writing essays and kept on doing so through six more volumes of poetry, four novels, and three children's books. Sometimes people invited me to write stuff; other times I needed to figure something out for myself by working it through on paper. The word 'essay', as first used by Michel de Montaigne, means 'an attempt', and that's what these are.

...

I am writing this introduction in July 2020, the summer of Covid-19. The only such summer, I hope, but we never know what the future holds. In the midst of a pandemic, this gathering of belle-lettres seems superfluous, but I keep reminding myself that the plague was raging in Paris in 1580, the year Montaigne's Essays were first published, and that Shakespeare just kept on writing whenever rampant infection closed the theatres in London, confident that they would eventually reopen. The example of these masters persuades me that there will again be a time when writing about poetry will not seem frivolous to everyone except poets.

Or maybe that time is actually now, when we are in suspended animation and the future and past swirl around us in a quantum rather than linear moment. An eerie quiet has fallen over my normally bustling neighbourhood. The weather is beautiful because the dwindling of the city's traffic has left the air fresh and the sky blue, day after day. Although essential workers never left their jobs, many other people have become unemployed or are struggling to work remotely. Children who lost their last three months of school are enduring a summer of limited activity, unable to play with each other. My life, however, is unchanged. Since I left the university in 1996, I have not had an office to go to; I have worked contract to contract, teaching creative writing, editing books, and taking art classes. What I once saw as insecurity I now recognize as freedom.

A contranym, perhaps? Read 'Let' and you will see what I mean.

[Continued in Artful Flight...]

-Susan Glickman, Toronto, July 2020

close this panel
Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch

Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : girls & women
More Info
Bernadette in the Doghouse

Bernadette in the Doghouse

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : friendship
More Info
Bernadette to the Rescue

Bernadette to the Rescue

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : friendship
More Info
Running in Prospect Cemetary

Running in Prospect Cemetary

New and Selected Poems
edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info
Safe as Houses

Safe as Houses

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
More Info
The Tale-Teller

The Tale-Teller

edition:eBook
More Info
The Violin Lover

The Violin Lover

edition:eBook
tagged : literary
More Info
What We Carry

What We Carry

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info
Roughing It in the Bush
Excerpt

The early part of the winter of 1837, a year never to be forgotten in the annals of Canadian history, was very severe….

The morning of the seventh was so intensely cold that everything liquid froze in the house. The wood that had been drawn for the fire was green, and it ignited too slowly to satisfy the shivering impatience of women and children; I vented mine in audibly grumbling over the wretched fire, at which I in vain endeavoured to thaw frozen bread, and to dress crying children….

After dressing, I found the air so keen that I could not venture out without some risk to my nose, and my husband kindly volunteered to go in my stead.

I had hired a young Irish girl the day before. Her friends were only just located in our vicinity, and she had never seen a stove until she came to our house. After Moodie left, I suffered the fire to die away in the Franklin stove in the parlour, and went into the kitchen to prepare bread for the oven.

The girl, who was a good-natured creature, had heard me complain bitterly of the cold, and the impossibility of getting the green wood to burn, and she thought that she would see if she could not make a good fire for me and the children, against my work was done. Without saying one word about her intention, she slipped out through a door that opened from the parlour into the garden, ran round to the wood-yard, filled her lap with cedar chips, and, not knowing the nature of the stove, filled it entirely with the light wood.

Before I had the least idea of my danger I was aroused from the completion of my task by the crackling and roaring of a large fire, and a suffocating smell of burning soot. I looked up at the kitchen cooking-stove. All was right there. I knew I had left no fire in the parlour stove; but not being able to account for the smoke and smell of burning, I opened the door, and to my dismay found the stove red-hot, from the front plate to the topmost pipe that let out the smoke through the roof.

My first impulse was to plunge a blanket, snatched from the servant’s bed, which stood in the kitchen, into cold water. This I thrust into the stove, and upon it I threw water, until all was cool below. I then ran up to the loft, and by exhausting all the water in the house, even to that contained in the boilers upon the fire, contrived to cool down the pipes which passed through the loft. I then sent the girl out of doors to look at the roof, which, as a very deep fall of snow had taken place the day before, I hoped would be completely covered, and safe from all danger of fire.

She quickly returned, stamping and tearing her hair, and making a variety of uncouth outcries, from which I gathered that the roof was in flames.

close this panel
Show editions
close this panel

User Activity

more >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...