Editing Modernism in Canada


July 29, 2011

further to my previous post on indexing the Canadian Poetry Magazine

One of the challenges in  working with early 20th-century periodicals is the dearth of information about who published what, where. Even in this modern age of internet technology, too few journals and magazines have online indices or have even been scanned as .pdf images.

The Canadian Poetry Magazine was published between 1936 and 1963. It thus has a finite number of volumes (26) and so the activity of comprehensive indexing of the complete print-run should have appealed to some literary or bibliographic scholar sooner than now. But it didn’t. And so when we went to find early Canadian female poets, we ran across vague comments to the effect that an author had “contributed to Canadian Poetry…” Somewhere. As researchers on a project attempting to catalogue all women who published in Canada previous to 1950, we felt that the only way to be sure we found everyone was to go through each volume carefully, checking not only Tables of Contents, but advertisements and award announcements as well. It was a monumental task, but carefully and thoroughly performed by Kim Mulder, an MA student at SFU.

The resulting list includes early poetry by P. K. Page, Dorothy Livesay, Anne Marriott, Anne Wilkinson, Miriam Dworkin Waddington, and other well-known Canadian Modernist poets, as well as (and perhaps more interestingly) numerous poems by poets as yet unknown to the academic community. Our index terminates after volume 14 (1950), as the scope of our project ends at that date. Perhaps another graduate gtudent working in the later half of the 20th century can complete the index for the years 1951-1963.

Regardless of their incomplete temporal representation, we hope that these indices will contribute significantly to an increasing academic interest in the authors—well-known or obscure—who were publishing in the early 20th-century periodical press in Canada.

Karyn Huenemann

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