|Born||Gwendolyn Margaret MacEwen
1 September 1941
|Died||29 November 1987
|Education||High school dropout, autodidact|
|Notable awards||Governor General's Award|
Gwendolyn Margaret MacEwen (1 September 1941 – 29 November 1987) was a Canadian poet and novelist. A "sophisticated, wide-ranging and thoughtful writer," she published more than 20 books in her life. "A sense of magic and mystery from her own interests in the Gnostics, Ancient Egypt and magic itself, and from her wonderment at life and death, makes her writing unique.... She's still regarded by most as one of the best Canadian poets."
MacEwen was born in Toronto, Ontario. Her mother, Elsie, spent much of her life as a patient in mental health institutions. Her father, Alick, suffered from alcoholism. Gwendolyn MacEwen grew up in the High Park area of the city, and attended Western Technical-Commercial School.
Her first book of poetry, The Drunken Clock, was published in 1961 in Toronto,. then the centre of a literary revival in Canada, encouraged by the editor Robert Weaver and influential teacher Northrop Frye. MacEwen was thus in touch with James Reaney, Margaret Atwood, Dennis Lee, etc. She married poet Milton Acorn, 19 years her senior, in 1962, although they divorced two years later.
She published over twenty books, in a variety of genres. She also wrote numerous radio docudramas for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), including a "much-admired radio drama", Terror and Erebus, in 1965.
With her second husband, Greek musician Niko Tsingos, MacEwen opened a Toronto coffeehouse, The Trojan Horse, in 1972. She and Tsingos translated some of the poetry of contemporary Greek writer Yiannis Ritsos (published in her 1981 book Trojan Women).
She taught herself to read Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, and French, and translated writers from each of those languages. In 1978 her translation of Euripides' drama The Trojan Women was first performed in Toronto.
"A sophisticated, wide-ranging and thoughtful writer," says The Canadian Encyclopedia, MacEwen "displayed a commanding interest in magic and history as well as an elaborate and penetrating dexterity in her versecraft."
Her two novels – Julian the Magician, dealing with the ambiguous relationship between the hermetic philosophies of the early Renaissance and Christianity; and King of Egypt, King of Dreams, which imaginatively reconstructed the life and religious reformation of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton – blend fantasy and history.
Other awards and prizes MacEwen won include the CBC New Canadian Writing Contest for poetry in 1965; the A.J.M. Smith Poetry Award in 1973; the Borestone Mountain Poetry Award in 1983; the CBC Literary Competition, for short story in 1983; and the Du Maurier Awards, gold and silver for poetry, in 1983.
Fictional tributes to MacEwen have been published by Margaret Atwood (the short story "Isis in Darkness"), and Lorne S. Jones (the novel Mighty Oaks).
Gwendolyn MacEwen Park
|Gwendolyn MacEwen Park|
|Location||Walmer Rd at Lowther Ave, Toronto|
|Operated by||Toronto Parks|
The former Walmer Road Park, in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto, was renamed Gwendolyn MacEwen Park in her honor in 1994.
On 9 September 2006, a bronze bust of MacEwen by her friend, sculptor John McCombe Reynolds, was unveiled in the park.
The park had been a grassy traffic circle in the middle of Walmer Road at Lowther Avenue, but a $300,000 makeover in 2010, expanded the park and narrowed the surrounding roads. The unique redesigned greenspace reopened 21 July 2010, and writer Claudia Dey read one of MacEwen's poems.
Media related to Gwendolyn MacEwen Park at Wikimedia Commons
- Selah. Toronto: Aleph Press, 1961.
- The Drunken Clock. Toronto: Aleph Press, 1961.
- The Rising Fire. Toronto: Contact Press, 1963.
- Terror and Erebus (1965)
- A Breakfast for Barbarians. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1966.
- The Shadow-Maker. Toronto: Macmillan, 1969.
- The Armies of the Moon . Toronto: Macmillan, 1972. ISBN 978-0-7705-0868-5
- Magic Animals: Selected Poems Old and New. Toronto: Macmillan, 1974. ISBN 978-0-7705-1214-9
- Trojan Women, 1981.
- The Fire-Eaters. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1982. ISBN 978-0-88750-179-1
- The T. E. Lawrence Poems. Oakville: Mosaic Press, 1982.
- Earth-Light: Selected Poetry 1963-1982. Toronto: General Publishing, 1982. ISBN 978-0-7736-1117-7
- The Man with Three Violins 1986 HMS Press (Toronto) ISBN 0-919957-83-8
- Afterworlds. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987. ISBN 978-0-7710-5428-0
- Atwood, Margaret and Barry Callaghan, eds. The Poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen: The Early Years (Volume One). Toronto: Exile Editions, 1993. ISBN 978-1-55096-543-8
- Atwood, Margaret and Barry Callaghan, eds. The Poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen: The Later Years (Volume Two). Toronto: Exile Editions, 1993. ISBN 978-1-55096-547-6
- Gwendolyn MacEwen, Meaghan Strimas, Rosemary Sullivan, Barry Callaghan (2008). The Selected Gwendolyn MacEwen. Exile Editions, Ltd. ISBN 978-1-55096-111-9.
- Julian the Magician. Insomniac Press. 2004 . ISBN 978-1-894663-57-1.
- King of Egypt, King of Dreams. Insomniac Press. 2004 . ISBN 978-1-894663-60-1.
- Noman. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1972.
- Noman's Land: stories Coach House Press, 1985. ISBN 978-0-88910-312-2
- Mermaids and Ikons: A Greek Summer. Toronto: House of Anansi, 1978. ISBN 978-0-88784-062-3
- The Chocolate Moose. Toronto: N/C Press, 1979. ISBN 978-0-919601-57-4
- The Honey Drum. Oakville: Mosaic Press, 1983. ISBN 978-0-88962-228-9
- Dragon Sandwiches Black Moss Press, 1987. ISBN 978-0-88753-157-6
Except where noted, bibliographic information courtesy of Brock University.
- Open Secret. CBC Learning Systems, 1972. [phonograph record]
- Celebration: Famous Canadian Poets CD Canadian Poetry Association — 2001 ISBN 1-55253-032-9 (CD#3) ( with Raymond Souster )
- Jan Bartley. Invocations: the poetry and prose of Gwendolyn MacEwen. 1983.
- Rosemary Sullivan. Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1995.
- Atwood, Margaret. "MacEwen’s Muse." Canadian Literature 45 (1970): 24-32.
- Barrett, Elizabeth. "A Tour de Force." Evidence 8 (1964): 140-143.
- Davey, Frank. "Gwendolyn MacEwen: The Secret of Alchemy." Open Letter (second series) 4 (1973): 5-23.
- Di Michele, Mary. "Gwendolyn MacEwen: 1941-1987." Books in Canada 17.1 (1988): 6.
- Gerry, Thomas M. "Green Yet Free of Seasons: Gwendolyn MacEwen and the Mystical Tradition of Canadian Poetry." Studies in Canadian Literature 16.2 (1991/1992): 147-161.
- Gillam, Robyn. "The Gaze of a Stranger: Gwendolyn MacEwen’s Hieratic Eye." Paragraph 13.2 (1991): 10-13.
- Godfrey, Dave. "Figments of a Northern Mind." Tamarack Review 31 (1964): 90-91.
- Gose, E.B. "They Shall Have Arcana." Canadian Literature 21 (1964): 36-45.
- Harding Russell, Gillian. "Gwendolyn MacEwen’s ‘The Nine Arcana of the Kings’ as Creative Myth and Paradigm." English Studies in Canada 15.2 (1988): 204-217.
- Harding Russell, Gillian. "Iconic Mythopoeia in MacEwen’s The T.E. Lawrence Poems." Studies in Canadian Literature 9.1 (1984): 95-107.
- Helwig, Maggie. "The Shadowmaker Confirmed the Poet in Me." Catholic New Times 21.19 (1997): 13,14.
- Jones, D.G. "Language of Our Time." Canadian Literature 29 (1966): 67-69.
- Kelly, M. T. "Thoughts From a Friend (Profile of Gwendolyn MacEwen)." Canadian Woman Studies 9.2 (1988): 89.
- Kemp, Penn. "A Musing I Would Like to have Shared with Gwendolyn MacEwen." Tessera 5 (1988): 49-57.
- "MacEwen Possessed a Talent that was Fragile, Precocious." Globe and Mail (Metro Edition) 2 Dec 1987: A10, C5.
- Marshall, Joyce. "Remembering Gwendolyn MacEwen." Brick 45 (1993): 61-65.
- Marshall, Tom. "Several Takes on Gwendolyn MacEwen." Quarry 38.1 (1989): 76-83.
- "Obituary: Author." Gwendolyn MacEwen. Quill and Quire 54.3 (1988): 62.
- Potvin, Elisabeth. "Gwendolyn MacEwen and Female Spiritual Desire." Canadian Poetry 28 (1991): 18-39.
- Purdy, Al. "Death in the Family." Saturday Night 103.5 (1988): 65-66.
- Ringrose, Christopher. "Vision Enveloped in Night." Canadian Literature 53 (1972): 102-104.
- Sowton, Ian. "To Improvise an Eden." Edge 2 (1964): 119-124.
- Tsingos, Nikolas. "Poems for Gwendolyn MacEwen." Descant 24.4 (1993/ 1994): 41.
- Warwick, Ellen D. "To Seek a Single Symmetry." Canadian Literature 71 (1976): 21-34.
- Wilkinson, Shelagh. "Gwendolyn MacEwen's Trojan Women: Old Myth into New Life." Canadian Woman Studies 8.3 (1987): 81-83.
- Wood, Brent. "From The Rising Fire to Afterworlds: The Visionary Circle in the Poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen." Canadian Poetry 47 (2000): 40-69.
- "Gwendolyn MacEwen," NNDB.com Web, 24 April 2011.
- "MacEwen, Gwendolyn," Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988), 1264.
- John Oughton, "Gwendolyn MacEwen," Young Soul Rebels, YoungPoets.ca, Web, 24 April 2011.
- "Gwendolyn MacEwen: Biography", Canadian Poetry Online, Web, 23 April 2011.
- "Gwendolyn MacEwen," Canadian Women Poets, BrockU.ca, Web, 22 April 2001.
- "Gwendolyn MacEwen: Comments by Writers and Critics," Canadian Poetry Online, Web, 24 April 2011.
- "The Gwendolyn MacEwen Park Memorial". The family of the late poet Gwendolyn MacEwen would like to announce the unveiling scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 9, 2006. Akimbo.ca. Retrieved March 2012.
- George Woodcock & Rosemary Sullivan, " Gwendolyn MacEwen Biography," Encyclopedia of Literature, 8264, JRank.org, Web, 24 April 2011.
- Michaela Milde, Review of Euripides' Trojan Women, Didaskalia I:1, Web, 22 April 2011.
- "Our Poets at Rest: Gwendolyn MacEwen," Arc, 15 Nov. 2010, Web, 22 April 2011.
- "Gendolyn MacEwen: Awards and Honours," Canadian Poetry Online, 24 April 2011.
- "Alien Creature: A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen," LindaGriffiths.ca, Web, 24 April 2011.
- "To dedicate certain land known as Walmer Road Circle, for public park purposes". By-law 20991. City of Toronto. 1960-05-24. Retrieved April 2012.
- Bert Archer (28 July 2010). "$300,000 makes Gwendolyn MacEwan Park bigger, less round". Development News. Yonge Street Media. Retrieved March 2012.
- "Claudia Dey reads at the re-opening of Gwendolyn MacEwen Park". Coach House Books. Retrieved March 2012.
- Judith Fitzgerald. "Dark Pines Under Water".
- Dark Pines (TV Movie)
- Canadian Poetry Online: Gwendolyn MacEwen - Biography and 7 poems (Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear, Fragments from A Childhood, Magic Cats, Poems in Braille, Memoirs of a Mad Cook, The Drunken Clock, Dark Pines Under Water)
- Catherine Joyce (December 2007). "Catherine Joyce on Gwendolyn MacEwen’s "A Breakfast for Barbarians"". Arc Poetry Magazine.
- Barbara Myers (December 2004). "Barbara Myers on Gwendolyn MacEwen’s "Dark Pines Under Water"". Arc Poetry Magazine.
- Barbara Myers (November 2004). "Barbara Myers on Gwendolyn MacEwen’s "The Mirage"". Arc Poetry Magazine.
- "Canada's Most Memorable Poems, Nominations, Dark Pines Under Water". Literary Review of Canada. May 2008.
- Gwendolyn MacEwen Papers, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library