Sous-fonds SF08 - Lorne and Edith Pierce collection. Earle Birney sous-fonds

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Lorne and Edith Pierce collection. Earle Birney sous-fonds

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  • 1942-1953 (Creation)
    Birney, Earle

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Physical description

60 p.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Alfred Earle Birney, poet (b at Calgary 13 May 1904; d at Toronto, Ont 3 Sept 1995). Beginning with David and Other Poems (1942), Birney's poetry consistently explored the resources of language with passionate and playful curiosity.
Birney also had an important career as a teacher of creative writing and literature, and as a playwright, novelist and editor. He taught at several universities, most notably at UBC (1946-65), where he founded and directed the first Canadian creative writing programme. His work led to the establishment at UBC of Canada's first Department of Creative Writing in 1965. In this same year, Birney was appointed as the first writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto. But his greatest contribution has been to 20th century Canadian poetry.
Birney won the Governor General's Award for poetry twice (for David, 1942, and for Now Is Time, 1945). His darkly comic WWII novel Turvey won the Stephen Leacock Medal in 1949. He received the Lorne Pierce Medal for Literature in 1953. Later works includeCopernican Fix (1985), Words on Waves: Selected Radio Plays (1985) and Essays on Chaucerian Irony (1985). His memoir is titled Spreading Time: Remarks on Canadian Writing and Writers 1904-1949 (1989). His final collection, Last Markings (1991), was published after a disabling heart attack in 1987.

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Scope and content

Sous-fonds consists of a typescript with holograph notes for "Twentieth Century Canadian Poetry" which was edited by Birney; includes letter from Birney to Ryerson Press (1953 June 2) discussing book. Also a typescript for "David and other poems."

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Gift of Lorne and Edith Pierce.


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  • English

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  • Shelf: 2001.1