Our poets at rest: John Newlove


Born: Regina; June 13, 1938

Died: Ottawa; December 23, 2003

Buried: Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa

Photo: Anita Lahey

John Newlove was one of the dominant voices in Canadian poetry when he hitchhiked across the country several times during the 1960s. Born in 1938 in Regina, Saskatchewan, he lived at different times in Vancouver, eastern California, Halifax, Prince George, Toronto, and finally Ottawa. He held writer-in-residence positions at numerous libraries and universities, including the University of Western Ontario, Massey College (University of Toronto), Regina Public Library and Loyola College in Montreal. He also worked as a senior editor for McClelland & Stewart in the early 1970s, and once worked in the communications branch of the PMO. He published 13 collections and chapbooks of poetry, including Lies (1973), which won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, and The Night the Dog Smiled (1986). A Long Continual Argument: The Selected Poems of John Newlove, was published by Chaudiere Books in Ottawa in 2007. Paul Vermeersch reviewed this book for the Globe and Mail on March 1, 2008. Read an excerpt of the review here.

Read Jesse Ferguson’s poem “Thank You For the Cigarette, John Newlove,” which appeared in Arc 61, winter 2009.

rob mclennan’s How Poems Work essay on John Newlove’s poem “Death of the Hired Man,” can be read in Arc’s How Poems Work archives.

The Ottawa poetry journal and website Bywords established the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2004.

Read a biography of John Newlove, his CBC obituary and some of his poems at Canadian Poetry Online.

Read Douglas Barbour’s entry on John Newlove in The Canadian Encyclopedia.

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