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Topic: poetry essays

Our lost poets: Bring them back

an introduction by the editors…
All the poets you will read about in this copy of [_Arc_] are dead. With each, a potential legacy has also died, or is in full-blown demise. Though ordinary mortality is beyond our powers to correct, we take issue, as our theme “Forgotten and Neglected” implies, with these secondary, literary deaths. We contend that each of the 13 poets whose work appears in these pages has received less credit than was his or her due for either literary accomplishments, the enrichment of our poetic history, or both. The contributions made by these poets have faded too quickly from our collective memory and seem doomed to archival obscurity, if that.
This issue, known among our crew as F&N, was born out of a knot of frustration, a knot that thickened even as our excitement also grew over the lost and near-lost poets re-emerging–in what for most of them would have seemed a bizarre and foreign incarnation–through our inboxes and on our computer screens.
In the spring of 2005, three members of _Arc_–the two of us from Ottawa and Sackville, New Brunswick respectively, and our webmistress Stacey Munro from Vancouver Island–converged at the Associated Writers and Publishers conference and book fair in downtown Vancouver. Amid an intoxicating few days of seeing such poets as W.S. Merwin and Anne Carson give readings to jam-packed ballrooms at the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel, we also attended a session called Forgotten and Neglected Poets, and were curious to see which Canadians would appear on the roster (the panel giving the presentation was American). To our amusement and dismay, Gwendolyn MacEwen was the sole Canadian deemed in need of resurrection. As MacEwen’s been neither F’d nor N’d in _this_ country, we began to wonder who might truly fit the category. By the time we’d returned to our table at the book fair, this special issue of _Arc_ was already unofficially underway….