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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > APRIL 2017 > The essential Dennis Lee

The essential Dennis Lee

Eight milestones in the career of a Canadian poet, children’s author, and national icon


Civil Elegies and Other Poems (House of Anansi Press, 1972)

In his introduction to the 2012 reissue of Lee’s Governor General’s Literary Award–winning collection (itself an expansion of the author’s 1968 Vietnam-era text), Nick Mount situates the book as “a lament for Canada – not for any Canada that ever was, but for a Canada that might have been.” Lee’s critique of colonialism and national timidity – “fear of life, the mark of Canada” – is also an early example of the poet’s ecological awareness, a concern that would come to apocalyptic fruition years later in Testament.

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Dennis Lee: The iconic poet returns with a career-spanning collection; The profound resilience of Barbara Gowdy.