Douglas LePan: Queer Poet, GG Winner and WWII Veteran
Rediscovered by John Barton, co-editor of the recently published [_Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets_], which includes works by LePan.
Douglas LePan was born in Toronto in 1914 and died in 1998. He studied at the University of Toronto and Oxford before serving with the Canadian Army in Italy, an experience that informs his second book, _The Net and the Sword_ (1953). After the Second World War, he joined the foreign service, then left to teach at Queen’s University, Kingston becoming Principal of University College, University of Toronto. A man with a lifelong talent for hero worship, soon after his retirement, he published a memoir, _Bright Glass of Memory_, in 1979. It recounts his relationships with significant figures of his time, including Wyndham Lewis, General Andrew McNaughton, T. S. Eliot, and John Maynard Keynes. In 1990, at age 76, he published [_Far Voyages_], a landmark book of poetry in Canadian queer studies that also broke personal ground in its frank exploration of his relationship with a man almost thirty-five years his junior. A writer who won Governor General’s Awards for both poetry (in 1953) and fiction (in 1964), who was singled out for praise by Northrop Frye, and published many iconic poems about the Canadian experience, LePan is unjustly forgotten by today’s readers and critics. The essay in _Arc Poetry Magazine_ is the first ever published on his work and explores the telling ways in which he evokes ideas of the heroic in some of the most luminous poetry ever written by a Canadian.