Canadian Writers in 1984: The 25th Anniversary Issue of Canadian Literature


376 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-7748-0205-7




Edited by W.H. New
Reviewed by Don Precosky

Don Precosky teaches English at the College of New Caledonia and is the
co-editor of Four Realities: Poets of Northern B.C.


A quarter century after doubters said it wouldn’t find enough material for more than one or two issues, Canadian Literature is still alive and kicking. This book celebrates that 25 years of achievement and pioneering. Editor Bill New has decided that this special issue should be made up entirely of works by practising writers (as opposed to critics). His was a good decision, for without the writers there would be no critics and no Canadian Literature.

New has put together a collection of poems, reminiscences, soapbox thumpings, and critical articles. The quality of the material varies. Inclusion appears to have been by invitation only. There is some bottom-drawer stuff but also some truly fine and interesting material. Among the articles I liked those by Clark Blaise, Matt Cohen, Don Gutteridge, Daphne Marlatt, and Josef Skvorecky. The Cohen and Skvorecky pieces are particularly strong. The best poems are by Frank Davey, Robert Gibbs, Michael Brian Oliver, and Tom Wayman.

With so many fine writers in the country it is a safe bet that Canadian Literature won’t have trouble finding material for its next 100 issues.


“Canadian Writers in 1984: The 25th Anniversary Issue of Canadian Literature,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,