Poet Gwendolyn MacEwen, perhaps best known for winning the 1969 Governor General’s Award for her collection The Shadow Maker and the 1987 GG, posthumously, for Afterworlds, is perhaps one of the most significant Canadian poets whose work is entirely out of print. MacEwen was only 46 when she died, and her tragic life combined with the mysticism of her poetic voice has made her a figure of enduring fascination for other poets and scholars, even as her work’s deviation from popular narratives of Canadian literature has often led to her being dropped from our literary histories. In this episode, SpokenWeb podcast host Hannah McGregor reflects on why MacEwen’s voice continues to haunt so many of us, alongside authors Jen Sookfong Lee and andrea bennett, and SpokenWeb researcher Katherine McLeod.
bennett, andrea. Excerpt from “The People’s Poetry.” The essay appears in the book Like a Boy But Not A Boy: Navigating Life, Mental Health, and Parenthood outside the Gender Binary to be published by Arsenal Pulp Press, fall 2019.
Camlot, Jason and Katherine McLeod. “SGW Poetry Remix” MP3 file, 12 Dec 2018.
MacEwen (a performance).” Resurfacing: Women Writing across Canada in the 1970s. Mount Allison University & Université de Moncton, 26-28 April 2018.
— “Performing the Archive: A Remix.” Performed with Jason Camlot. Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, Montreal, 5 May 2019.
MacEwen, Gwendolyn. “Dark Pines Under Water.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaHTMxvxNGc
— Reading with Phyllis Webb at Sir George Williams University, Nov 18 1966. https://montreal.spokenweb.ca/sgw-poetry-readings/gwendolyn-macewen-at-sgwu-1966/
— “Past and Future Ghosts.” Afterworlds. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987.
McLeod, Katherine. “(Un)Covering the Mirror: Performative Reflections in Linda Griffiths’s Alien Creature: A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen and Wendy Lill’s The Occupation of Heather Rose.” Theatre and Autobiography: Writing and Performing Lives in Theory and Practice. Eds. Sherrill Grace and Jerry Wasserman (Talon, 2006). 89-104.
— “An Archival Remix” Performance by Katherine McLeod and Emily Murphy. Toronto: Modernist Studies Association, 18 Oct 2019.
— “Making Shadows with Recorded Sound: Dance as Criticism, in response to Gwendolyn
“Flamenco Rhythm” by Sunsearcher: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Sunsearcher
“Soothe,” “At Our Best Alone,” “A Certain Lightness,” “The Bus At Dawn,” “Slow Slow Sky” all from https://www.sessions.blue/