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The Poetry of Jan Zwicky
Arcing across thirty years and seven volumes, Jan Zwicky’s poetry has always been acutely musical (and sensitive to the silence out of which music comes). In the compositions in Chamber Music, the first anthology of Zwicky’s poems, one may perceive the attunement of her vocations: poet, philosopher, violinist. Her poetry both praises and relinquishes the earth, bearing witness to the fierce skies of the prairies and the freezing rain of the West Coast. Enacting the virtue of clarity prized and defended by her explicitly philosophical work, this poetry is both resonant and integrated. It is also formally diverse, ranging from the singular focus of the lyric ode to suites of variations and fugal structures, from polyphonic textures to the sprawling reach of narrative gestures. Throughout, one feels the deft hand of an adept using powerful metaphors to explore themes of colonial violence, environmental devastation, spiritual catastrophe, and transformation.
Resisting Western philosophy’s exclusion of imagination from civic life, Zwicky’s poetry is noteworthy for the tension it achieves between the abstract and the personal, the general and the particular. Meditating repeatedly on themes of love and grief, this poetry is at once passionately committed to the lucidity of its utterances and the fidelity of its images.
A Scottish-Canadian Life
“Dour Scot” is the wrong description for David Caldow, who leads readers on a romp from the early twentieth century to the present, from an insular Scottish village to modern-day, multicultural British Columbia, from boyhood to old age. Throughout the tour he shares decades of laughter, tears, fears, and growth.
In 1910, the certain path of David’s life in Scotland is disrupted by the visit of an awe-inspiring comet. This brilliant visitor inspires the boy to dream of circling the world, like the comet, even though his life’s goal is to become a farm manager, like his father. As a young man seeking to fulfill his dreams, he travels to Canada and works his way from Quebec to British Columbia, guided by the lessons of his father and his memories of Scotland.
During his travels he grows in his understanding of himself, of the nature of love, of the ways of the world and its peoples, and of the poetry of Robert Burns. As a worker for the Farmer’s Institute and as farm manager for Colony Farm and Tranquille, two extensive BC government-owned farms, David contributes to raising the standards of Canadian agriculture. At seventy years old, he broadens the scope of his world even further, accepting a two-year Canadian federal-government position teaching farming in Tanzania.
Chasing the Comet is a true story that reads like fiction. David’s candour and his Scottish humour help him survive and thrive. In the book’s epilogue, David ponders the meaning of all his years of living, addressing questions such as: What is love? What is success? And how does one achieve them?
David Caldow lived an active life in Surrey, British Columbia until his death at the age of ninety-six.
Framing the Twentieth-Century Consensus
“So often a long-awaited book is disappointing. Happily such is not the case with Sutherland’s masterpiece.” Robert M. Stamp, University of Calgary, in The Canadian Historical Review
“Sutherland’s work is destined to be a landmark in Canadian history, both as a first in its particular field and as a standard reference text.” J. Stewart Hardy, University of Alberta, in Alberta Journal of Educational Research
Such were the reviewers’ comments when Neil Sutherland’s groundbreaking book was first published. Now reissued in Wilfrid Laurier University Press’s new series “Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada,” with a new introduction by series editor Cynthia Comacchio, this book remains relevant today. In the late nineteenth century a new generation of reformers committed itself to a program of social improvement based on the more effective upbringing of all children. In Children in English-Canadian Society, Neil Sutherland examines, with a keen eye, the growth of the public health movement and its various efforts at improving the health of children.
The Poetry of Christopher Dewdney
A four-time Governor General’s-award nominee for both poetry and non-fiction, Christopher Dewdney is celebrated internationally as a writer and a visionary and is best known for his particular imagining of place and memory. Beginning with Paleozoic fossil formations in southwestern Ontario and moving through eons of natural history to cityscapes and the digital present, Dewdney’s poetics encapsulate often surreal experiences from radical and epiphenomenal perspectives. His writing vibrates in a standing wave between science and art, reason and myth—embedding geology, neurophysiology, linguistics, and post-digital technology within a play of transitory viewpoints. Children of the Outer Dark provides a geological survey of Dewdney’s poetic strata. The poems selected, along with their order of presentation, serve a critical function to mine diverse layers of development in Dewdney’s career. This collection will reward all those who seek inspiration and will provide teachers, students, and other writers with a short natural history of one of Canadas essential poetic minds.
From sentimental stories about polio to the latest cherub in hospital commercials, sick children tug at the public’s heartstrings. However sick children have not always had adequate medical care or protection. The essays in Children’s Issues in Historical Perspective investigate the identification, prevention, and treatment of childhood diseases from the 1800s onwards, in areas ranging from French-colonial Vietnam to nineteenth-century northern British Columbia, from New Zealand fresh air camps to American health fairs.
Themes include: the role of government and/or the private sector in initiating and underwriting child public health programs; the growth of the profession of pediatrics and its views on “proper” mothering techniques; the role of nationalism, as well as ethnic and racial dimensions in child-saving movements; normative behaviour, social control, and the treatment of “deviant” children and adolescents; poverty, wealth, and child health measures; and the development of the modern children’s hospital.
This liberally illustrated collection reflects the growing academic interest in all aspects of childhood, especially child health, and originates from health care professionals and scholars across the disciplines. An introduction by the editors places the historical themes in context and offers an overview of the contemporary study of children’s health.
The Life of Mary Austin Endicott
Mary Austin was a mayor’s daughter who expected to live an uneventful life in Canada. But when she said “I do” to Jim Endicott she found that she had “married China.”
Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, but undeterred by the political turmoil around her in China, Mary Austin Endicott determined she would achieve the goals she set for herself. She bore and raised four children, ran a one-room school and became the foster mother to three Chinese boys, despite the raised eyebrows of many of her fellow missionaries.
The family moved back to Canada, but it wasn’t long before Jim, who was becoming a well-known peace activist, returned to wartorn China. Mary, by then a school trustee, continued her fight for teachers’ rights and focussed her energy on increased activity in left-wing politics, all the while separated from Jim and grieving for a marriage she felt to be in jeopardy.
Mary and Jim were finally reunited in 1947 in the police state Shanghai had become. She used all her energy and faith in that time to help Jim regain his equilibrium. For thousands of readers her book Five Stars over China countered the common practice during the Cold War of vilifying the Chinese Revolution. Then her greatest crisis came: Jim was accused of treason.
Shirley Jane Endicott has presented us with a fascinating account of her mother’s life, based on Mary Austin Endicott’s private writings and flavoured with Shirley’s memories. She brings to life the story of an exceptional woman whose life was shaped by profound political and historical circumstances.
Christian Self-Understanding in a Technological Age
In this re–examination of the roots of the relationship between religion and science, David Hawkin focuses on the concept of autonomy as he explores the question: Is there continuity and compatibility between the autonomy that underlies Christian faith and the role of individual freedom in the technological age?
What makes this work particularly valuable is Professor Hawkin’s review of the theological, philosophical, political, psychological, and sociological works that have formed our ideas of the nature of both Christianity and modernity — Reimarus, Strauss, Schweitzer, and Bultmann on the quest for the historical Jesus; Bauer and Turner on Christian faith and practice; Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, and Marx on our historicity; Gogarten, Cox, and Bonhoeffer who affirm our autonomy in the technological process; Ellul and George who deny it.
A Critical Edition
Christ and Satan is the title of the last of four poems in the eleventh-century Junius XI manuscript of Anglo-Saxon poetry. This critical edition contains text, glossary, textual and explanatory notes, and an essay surveying former criticisms and setting forth the author’s ideas on the poem’s principle of unity.
Of particular value to students and scholars of Old English, Christ and Satan makes an important contribution to the understanding of this fine and interesting poem.