Douglas Barbour


Notes only, and from a position I tend to think of as on the margin. But I have been reminded all too often of the fact that my margin is pretty close to many other peoples' centres and so I can't even make that claim with any sense of real justification. Let's say that I write from a site which takes certain kinds of innovation as positive, and which recognizes that many other margins, of class, race or ethnicity, gender, as well as poetic practice, are circling on the peripheries of official culture. 1 will also admit, right up front, that 1 cannot possibly do justice to the vast range of writing in Canada today, and that this series of notes can only attempt to give some sense of that range, and of the writers working in various fields within it. ln that sense, this is a highly provisional overview, a glimpse from one point on the circumference of some of what lies within. I will mention a number of writers, most of whom will stand as signs of many others unmentioned. This is inherently unfair, and I recognize that fact. My own biases undoubtedly influence the directions many of these quick glancing notes will take. In order to suggest something about poetry in Canada circa 1998, I think it necessary to look at some of the developments of the past decade or so.



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