How might a public dialogue between three modernist poets in 1978—about poetry written in the 1930s and 1940s—remain relevant to thinking about the conditions of Canadian literature today? Dorothy Livesay, Anne Marriott, and Irving Layton, as we have explored in Take 1 and Take 2, examine the shifting relationships between politics, nation, and poetry that are foundational to understandings of what constitutes ‘modernism’ in Canada during these periods.
This post is the second of a three-part series by Teddie Brock, all based on a 1978 panel discussion with Dorothy Livesay, Anne Marriott, and Irving Layton, as recorded on audio preserved at the Simon Fraser University Archives. Check back on SPOKENWEBLOG for the next installment of this close listening to the archives as they […]
LIVESAY: “But in the 30s there were absolutely no readings… I—we were much too embarrassed or shy even to read to each other. Everything was the printed word. And that is why the magazine was such an important thing… Poets were working together to produce a magazine, and to try and get an audience for […]
Audio of the week, ShortCuts, SPOKENWEBLOG | Anne Marriott, audio archives, canadian literature, canadian poetry, Dorothy Livesay, Irving Layton, literary modernism, little magazines, modernism, print culture, Simon Fraser University
ShortCuts on SPOKENWEBLOG is a series of critical commentaries about short clips selected from audio collections across the SpokenWeb network. This post introduces a three-part series by Teddie Brock, all based on a 1978 panel discussion with Dorothy Livesay, Anne Marriott, and Irving Layton, as recorded on audio preserved at the Simon Fraser University Archives. […]
ShortCuts, SPOKENWEBLOG | 1930s, 1940s, archival audio, archive, canadian poetry, candida rifkind, Dorothy Livesay, f.r. scott, literary history, modernism, performance, Poetry Reading, sandra djwa, ShortCuts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Heritage Writers' Festival
A previous Audio of the Week featured one of Livesay’s most song-like poems “The Unquiet Bed” and this Audio of the Week features another musical poem by Livesay from that same reading in Montreal on January 14, 1971. The poem is “Bartok and the Geranium,” a poem that is often anthologized and, in fact, you may have studied it in a course on Canadian poetry. But do you know how Livesay wrote it? In this Audio of the Week, along with hearing the poem, you will hear Livesay telling her own story of how the poem began.
Dorothy Livesay’s poem “The Unquiet Bed” has appeared on the pages of many Canadian poetry anthologies, but what cannot be heard fully on the page is the sound of this poem as a ballad. It is an “unquiet” poem. The refrain – “The woman I am / is not what you see” – suggests that both the speaker and the poem are not what you see, though perhaps they are what you hear.