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A collection of Canadian poetry journals from the early years of a golden era in Canadian verse. This entire lot of scarce periodicals came from the library of Robert Weaver, who could arguably be referred to as the prime patron of modern Canadian writing. Weaver worked for the CBC producing radio programs on literature and provided many of the most important modern Canadian writers with the money to feed their families by buying their poetry and short stories to be broadcast on the CBC.
Because the earliest issues are quite rare and First Statement and Northern Review are scarce we are offering these incomplete runs as lots.
(CRAWLEY, Alan. Editor). Contemporary Verse. A Canadian Quarterly.
(Victoria) B.C.: no publisher, 1941-1952. 8vo., printed wrappers. 29 of 39 published issues; numbers 5-11, 13, 15, 17, 19-28, 30, 32-39. All issues about near fine.
Co-founded by Floris McLaren and Dorothy Livesay, Contemporary Verse was established to fill a gap in the Canadian literary world: “The climate of the time was particularly depressing…. The chances of publication in Canada for an unknown writer, or for a writer experimenting with new verse forms, or concerned with social or political themes, were almost non-existent.” Indeed, Contemporary Verse was an early outlet for many then-unknown Canadian poets including Page, Souster, Waddington, and Macpherson. Under the exceptional editorial gaze of Alan Crawley, Canadian Verse was, for over a decade, a place where Canadian poets could find inspiration, guidance, and opportunity that was unmatched in the country.
(SUTHERLAND, John. Editor). First Statement. Canadian Prose and Poetry.
Montreal: (First Statement Press), 1943-1945. 8vo., printed wrappers. 11 of ? published issues; Vol 2, Nos. 1-7, 9-12. Light soiling, writing on upper cover of five issues, all issues very good to near fine.
One of the earliest journals of Canadian modernist poetry, First Statement ran from 1942 to 1945 (ending with Vol 3 No. 1). Running concurrently with rival journal Preview until the two merged to become Northern Review, First Statement grew from a small run of mimeographed pamphlets to a journal distributed around the country. In addition to the Sutherland, Irving Layton and Louis Dudek would join the editorial board. “The so-called First Statement Group aligned itself with the cosmopolitan aesthetic in Canadian poetry, drawing inspiration from such avant-garde American poets as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. This placed the editorial policy of First Statement somewhat in opposition with that of Preview, which tended to favour such British anti-modernists as W. H. Auden and Dylan Thomas. Despite these differences, the rivalry between the two magazines was never strong, and A. M. Klein, F. R. Scott, and other important poets published in both periodicals.” This is a near-complete run of Volume 2—Volume 3 having only one issue before publication ceased altogether.
The writing on the covers is in Weaver’s hand. Rather than constituting defects the writing actually enhances the value of these magazines as Robert Weaver provides confirmation of what took considerable research for us to ascertain. He writes beside the name of one – “Jim Dorken” the name Irving Layton. And we have confirmed that indeed Irving Layton used that name as a pseudonym for the story in that issue. On another he writes “Sutherland” beside another name and we surmise that that piece will be authored by John Sutherland under that pseudonym. The first year issues (not present here) of First Statement were apparently issued as mimeographs, or in some similar format, probably in 8 ½” x 11” size. We have been quite astounded on inquiring of those colleagues who have spent many years specializing in modern Canadian poetry to find that no one can remember seeing or owning any of that first year.
(SUTHERLAND, John. Editor.) Northern Review A Canadian Literary Magazine.
Montreal, Toronto: First Statement Press, 1945-1956. 8vo., printed wrappers. 32 of 40 published issues. Vol 1. Nos. 1 & 6; Vol 2 Nos. 1-6; Vol 3 Nos. 1-6; Vol 4 Nos. 1, 3, 6; Vol 5 Nos. 2, 3&4 (combined), 5, 6; Vol 6 Nos. 1-6; Vol 7 Nos 1-4 (4 being the final issue published). Stamps, light soiling and edgewear; all issues very good to near fine.
The Northern Review was born out of the merger of Montreal-based, rival literary magazines Preview and First Statement. Edited by John Sutherland, and running from 1945-1956 it was one of the foremost magazines of its kind for a decade, representing a period when Montreal was a hub of Canadian poetry. “The group that originally embarked on Northern Review included [F.R.] Scott, [A.M.] Klein, [Irving] Layton, [Patrick] Anderson, [P.K.] Page, A.J.M. Smith, Dorothy Livesay and Ralph Gustafson, but in 1947 several members of the board resigned over a controversial review Sutherland published without consulting his associates. In 1948 Layton left, and the review became largely an expression of Sutherland's increasingly conservative attitude, though it still attracted good writers, including Mavis Gallant, Brian Moore, Marshall McLuhan and George Woodcock. It came to an end with Sutherland's death in 1956” The Canadian Encyclopedia
As an aside we have and can offer of required Weaver`s complete run of the Tamarack Review of which he was a founder and an editor.
$2,400.00 for the lot