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By J. McCullagh

Little magazines like Alan Crawley’s modern Verse are the existence blood of literary tradition. they supply an ongoing discussion board within which either good verified and new poets can test and current their most modern paintings, and it's always with the little magazines, for this reason, that litearary switch and oringiality have their beginnings. during this publication Joan McCullagh indicates how, among 1941 and 1952, the journal charted the institution of modernism in Canadian poetry via publishing, even sooner than 1947, the biggest, so much outstanding, and such a lot consultant choice of early forties’ poetry within the nation. Her wide citation from the hitherto unbpublished correspondence among Crawley and approximately each significant poet of the 40s additionally indicates how very important and valued a literary impression Crawley himself was once as a critic and consultant backstage.

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When Crawley admitted this bias to Earle Birney five years later—"The poem [David] is a fine bit and in spite of my dislike of narrative poetry you have done a good thing in it and I am glad it has got so much praise from reviewers and readers" (UT, nd)—Birney rapped his editorial knuckles sharply: Am amazed that you should admit to a "dislike" of narrative poetry. If that is really so, you are ruled out from enjoying most of the great poetic literature—Homer, the Aeneid, Chaucer, Dante, most of Milton, Goethe, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and a good deal of Wordsworth.

Of Patrick Anderson's A Tent for April'he said: "The impression that has pleased and persisted most strongly with me is that of extreme vitality and energy, springing and fed from Mr. Anderson's feeling for movement, so skillfully and sensitively translated into words" (13:16). Energy, intensity, and vitality were the essential components of a poem for Crawley, all the better if coupled with vivid fresh imagery. K. Page's imagery and Dudek's and Reaney's. "What is perhaps the most distinctive element" in Page's poetry in As Ten As Twenty (which Crawley judged to be "a remarkable first book") "is her wealth of imagery drawn from wide and varied sources, sharp and startling with the force of the personality they reveal" (19:18).

Contemporary Verse reflects these phases. Numbers one to twenty show a marked concern about the war and about the situation of poetry in Canada. Each new book of poetry is greeted by the magazine's reviewers with the enthusiasm pioneers give new arrivals, but also with wariness. The poetry published in the successive issues gains enormously in poise, flexibility, and assurance. Numbers twenty to thirty-nine have greater variety—both in theme and in technique—the verse is of better quality; one senses the victory of new finds.

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