F.R. Scott at SGWU, 1969

F.R. Scott reads from a large selection of his poetry, most of which have been collected in The collected poems of F.R. Scott, which was published much later in 1981. Thus Scott most likely did not read from one book, but from his own manuscripts. Most of the poems are read from F.R. Scott: Selected Poems (Oxford University Press, 1966) unless noted otherwise.

F.R. Scott

00:00:00.00

Ladies and gentleman, the poems I'm going to read stretch over a period, it seems hard to believe, of about 45 years, and the writing of poetry has changed quite as much in that time as the world has changed, and probably for the same reason. Some of the poems I start with, you are actually going to hear a rhyme, and they're going to be structured. And you won't appreciate it, but some are going to vary the rhyme form in a way which, when they were written, seemed really quite daring. And I have witnessed, and as poets go on, it will always happen, this continuous evolution of the method- the method of expression and the forms of expression, that the poet, like any other artist, uses. I'm going to start at the beginning of my writing, I was born in Quebec City, grew up there. The Laurentian mountains are ten miles away, my father was a great lover of nature, we went into the country for picnics all the time, he used to put me at the edge of the mountains and say "Frank, look North, there's nothing between you and the North Pole". And after I'd been three and a half years at Oxford and in Europe, soaking up nothing up but human history, the background and fundamentals of our civilization, I came back to Montreal, which seemed an incredibly ugly, empty, valueless city. The one thing that matched the power of the European tradition was this North land. It's emptiness, it's waiting. So I remember poems touching upon that feeling, and I will read first, this poem is really 45 years old, "New Names".

 

Annotation

00:02:31.27

Reads "New Names".

 

Annotation

00:03:26.49

Reads "Old Song".

 

F.R. Scott

00:04:17.18

"Trees In Ice", we've all seen trees in ice.

 

Annotation

00:04:26.97

Reads "Trees In Ice".

 

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00:05:21.94

Reads "Snow Drift".

 

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00:05:47.98

Reads "North Stream".

 

F.R. Scott

00:06:29.16

And then, "Stone", and I'm thinking of one of these marvelous artifacts that find on the shores of the northern rivers, and what it tells us.

 

Annotation

00:06:55.42

Reads "Stone".

 

F.R. Scott

00:08:09.95

And in the same vein, here is a street cry modeled on the street cries of London when they were selling- women were selling on the streets- "Street Cry".

 

 

Annotation

00:08:34.87

Reads "Street Cry".

 

F.R. Scott

00:09:03.55

One sees this north land, subject to man's invasion. This is called "Laurentian Shield", which as you know, the name of the geological formation that covers most of the northern part of this country.

 

Annotation

00:09:41.56

Reads "Laurentian Shield".

 

F.R. Scott

00:12:27.85

And "Flying to Fort Smith". I went down the Mackenzie river and flew from Edmonton to Fort Smith over the Peace River and these other rivers underneath which wind through the flat plain.

 

Annotation

00:12:53.19

Reads "Flying to Fort Smith".

 

F.R. Scott

00:14:14.75

Here's a fairly recent poem to be published shortly. It's called "T.V. Weatherman" and it's dedicated to Percy Saltzman.

 

Annotation

00:14:41.19

Reads "T.V. Weatherman".

 

F.R. Scott

00:16:30.08

"Trans Canada" this is my first flight, Regina to Montreal one night.

 

Annotation

00:16:42.97

Reads "Trans Canada".

 

F.R. Scott

00:19:19.39

Here's another recent poem, called "On the Terrace, Quebec". You imagine yourself on the terrace of Chateau Frontenac looking at the basin.

 

 

Annotation

00:19:41.82

Reads "On the Terrace, Quebec".

 

F.R. Scott

00:21:28.32

"A Grain of Rice", a poem I wrote in Burma, thinking of the Korean war, seeing the monsoon rains, reflecting on man and the universe in which he lives. "A Grain of Rice".

 

Annotation

00:22:04.64

Reads "A Grain of Rice".

 

Annotation

00:24:25.03

Reads "The Bird".

 

F.R. Scott

00:26:40.77

Here's another version of an old story. It's called "Eden".

 

Annotation

00:26:57.38

Reads "Eden".

 

F.R. Scott

00:29:25.98

And now, one or two more found poems. The first is from the Canadian Indian Pavilion at Expo. And it is found in this way, and those of you that saw that pavilion remember that they had these various rooms and in each room they had one or two lines of statements, up on the wall, about themselves and their relations with the white man. And all I did was to collect these various statements from a number of rooms and put them together to make a single poem, and it goes like this, I call it "The Indians Speak at Expo 67".

 

Annotation

00:30:24.85

Reads "The Indians Speak at Expo 67".

 

F.R. Scott

00:31:44.71

In one of those rooms, there was a treaty between the British Crown and some Indian Chiefs. These treaties all had one purpose: they were to transfer valuable lands to Indians to the white man. And the treaties I may say always succeeded. This treaty was written out in a very formal manuscript, and the Indians had got hold of the original parchment, or whatever it was on, and they had blown it up to a great big thing they had up on the wall. The treaty was signed by two chiefs, signed- that is to say- the chiefs could not sign their names and presumably could not read the treaty, but they made little drawings, marks, to indicate that they had approved, and this what part of the treaty contains. There was a signature at the top, Chief Ningaram and at the bottom, Chief Wobumingwam.

 

Annotation

00:32:56.63

Reads treaty poem.

 

F.R. Scott

00:34:07.82

And about 30,000 acres of the richest land in Southern Ontario went for a song to the chiefs who couldn't sign their names. And I just came across the other day, in a book that I picked up, another thing I think I could call a 'found poem', also by the Indians, it's in The Life of MacGillivray [sp?], the great fur trader of Montreal and his NorthWest Company, you know in the early part of the last century, around 1810-20. This is an account of the NorthWest Company, describing how they relate themselves to the Indians, and you will see the philanthropy.

 

Annotation

00:34:54.90

Reads first line “While the trade is confined to a...”

 

Annotation

00:35:32.00

END OF RECORDING

F.R. Scott

00:00:00.00

Here's a poem, some poems of sentiment, a poem called "Will to Win". It's full of the imagery, it came out of the resistance movement in France, during WW2, the Marquis hiding, having supplies dropped to them etc, etc.

 

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00:00:25.20

Reads "Will to Win".

 

Annotation

00:01:50.22

Reads first line "Heart goes straight on..."

 

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00:02:48.56

Reads "Girl Running Down Hill".

 

Annotation

00:04:0.91

Reads "Upon Watching Margaret Dying".

 

 

F.R. Scott

00:05:39.96

Here's a translation from Jacques Boraux [sp?], it's in his recent book that won the Prix de France. The poem is called "Connaisance, Knowing".

 

Annotation

00:06:0.56

Reads "Connaissance, Knowing", first line “I have in my mouth...”

 

F.R. Scott

00:07:31.00

And here's a translation from Pierre Trottier [sp?.] It's called "Time Corrected".

 

Annotation

00:07:50.99

Reads "Time Corrected", first line “So I retraced my steps...”

 

Annotation

00:09:27.86

Reads "Vision".

 

F.R. Scott

00:11:40.46

"Last Rites". This was written at the death of my father in hospital.

 

Annotation

00:11:50.49

Reads "Last Rites".

 

F.R. Scott

00:15:23.97

And finally, a poem called "A l'ange avantgardien". it seems strange, but I was brought up to believe there was a guardien angel, un ange gardien, looking after me, so you felt a little more secure. As you know, there are certain places in this province called l'ange gardien. So I thought of the avant, l'ange avant gardien. Stevens had a necessary angel, which to him was reality. Many people have angels, but this challenging avant guarde angel always asking you to be in the avant guarde, seems to me what I was thinking about. "A l'ange avantgardien".

 

Annotation

00:16:53.22

Reads "A l'ange avantgardien", [Howard Fink list first line “We must leave the handrails...”]

 

Annotation

00:18:01.79

END OF RECORDING.

F.R. Scott at SGWU, 1969
(Tape 1 of 2)

Tape
Catalog numberI006-11-112.1
Labelsreel “on two 5”, single track, mono, reels, @3 3/4 ips, lasting one hour”
Duration35:32
Sound qualityGood
Reading
SpeakersF.R. Scott
VenueUnknown
DateFebruary 22, 1969

Supplemental Material

F.R. Scott at SGWU, 1969
(Tape 2 of 2)

Tape
Catalog numberI006-11-112.2
Labelsreel “on two 5”, single track, mono, reels, @3 3/4 ips, lasting one hour”
Duration00:18:01.79
Sound qualityGood
Reading
SpeakersF.R. Scott
VenueUnknown
DateFebruary 22, 1969

Supplemental Material

Timestamps

00:00- Introduces his reading and “New Names”

02:31- Reads “New Names”

03:26- Reads “Old Song”

04:17- Introduces “Trees in Ice”

04:26- Reads “Trees in Ice”

05:21- Reads “Snow Drift”

05:47- Reads “North Stream”

06:29- Introduces “Stone”

06:55- Reads “Stone”

08:09- Introduces “Street Cry”

08:34- Reads “Street Cry”

09:03- Introduces “Laurentian Shield”

09:41- Reads “Laurentian Shield”

12:27- Introduces “Flying to Fort Smith”

12:53- Reads “Flying to Forth Smith”

14:14- Introduces “T.V. Weatherman”

14:41- Reads “T.V. Weatherman”

16:30- Introduces “Trans Canada”

16:42- Reads “Trans Canada”

19:19- Introduces “On the Terrace, Quebec”

19:41- Reads “On the Terrace, Quebec”

21:28- Introduces “A Grain of Rice”

22:04- Reads “A Grain of Rice”

24:25- Reads “The Bird”

26:40- Introduces “Eden”

26:57- Reads “Eden”

29:25- Introduces “The Indians Speak at Expo ’67”

30:24- Reads “The Indians Speak at Expo ’67”

31:44- Introduces unknown ‘treaty’ found poem

32:56- Reads unknown ‘treaty’ found poem

34:07- Introduces unknown poem about the life of MacGillivray

35:27- Reads unknown poem

35:32- END OF RECORDING

Timestamps

00:00- Introduces “Will to Win”

00:25- Reads “Will to Win”

01:50- Reads “Heart”

02:48- Reads “Girl Running Down Hill”

04:00- Reads “Upon Watching Margaret Dying”

05:39- Introduces “Connaissance, Knowing” , Prix de France, read from unknown source]

06:00- Reads “Connaissance, Knowing”

07:31- Introduces “Time Corrected” ]

07:50- Reads “Time Corrected”

09:27- Reads “Vision”

11:40- Introduces “Last Rites”

11:50- Reads “Last Rites”

15:23- Introduces “A l’ange avantgardien”

16:53- Reads “A l’ange avantgardien”

18:01- END OF RECORDING.

References

Works Cited

Djwa, Sandra. F.R. Scott: Une Vie, bibliographie. Florence Bernard (translation). Montreal: Boreal, 2001.

---. "Scott, F.R."  The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. Eugene Benson and William Toye. Oxford University Press 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Concordia University Library, Montreal.  16 September 2009  <http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.mercury.concordia.ca/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t201.e1329>

Trehearne, Brian. “Scott, F.R. (1899-1985)”. Routledge Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English. Eugene Benson, L.W. Connolly, eds. London: Routledge, 1994. 2v. Concordia Unviersity Library, Montreal. September 16, 2009. <http:// 0gateway.proquest.com.mercury. concordia.caopenurlctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&xri:pqil:res_ver=0.2&res_id=xri:lionus&rft_ id=xri:lion:t:ref:R00791468:0>.

Scott, F.R. F.R. Scott: Selected Poems.Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1966.

---. The Collected Poems of F.R. Scott. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1981.

 

Howard Fink list of poems

“R.F. Scott” *note mistake
22/2/69

reel info

 

Transcript, Research, Introduction and Edits by Celyn Harding-Jones


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