Future of Canadian Poetry Enhanced by Poet’s Legacy

January 15, 1998 - 4:00pm

Canadian poetry will be advanced, and one of its most honoured practitioners will be remembered through a new Chair of Poetry at Malaspina University-College, in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

The Ralph Gustafson Chair of Poetry, created by an endowment from his estate by his widow Betty Gustafson, will name a Poet-In-Residence each year, beginning next year. The Chair will be launched at a major symposium on Ralph Gustafson's work to be held at Malaspina in the Fall of 1998.

Ralph Gustafson, who died in 1995, wrote more than two dozen books of poetry, a collection of essays and a book of short stories. He compiled the first anthology of Canadian poetry, and was also a respected music critic. The Governor-General’s Award for poetry and the Order of Canada were among many honours he received. His life and work were the subjects of a book, a film by The National Film Board of Canada, and his poetry readings were recorded by The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Reviews of his last book, which was published after his death, have included recognition of Ralph Gustafson as “Canada’s greatest contribution to the modern movement in literature.”

In creating the endowment, Mrs. Betty Gustafson said the Chair of Poetry will continue her late husband’s life work of recognizing and assisting Canadian poets of demonstrated talent.

“I hope that in this way emerging poets will be encouraged and given time to continue their creative work,” she said.

Occupants of the Chair will present a lecture and several readings during their tenure, and will also be available to students and faculty in Malaspina's Creative Writing department.

Several prominent Canadian writers will be named Honorary Patrons of an international fundraising campaign to add to the endowment which will be conducted by the Malaspina University-College Foundation.


Contact: Roger Prior, (250) 740-6212.

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