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rev. ed. Edited by Ralph Gustafson. Markhain (Ont.), Penguin Books, c1958, 1967, 1975, 1984. 362pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-14-042329-X. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Warner Winter

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse, edited by Ralph Gustafson, and The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse,* edited by Margaret Atwood, are probably the two most significant books of Canadian verse in existence today. They are our ambassadors to the outside world and will be the two most often used for Canadian Literature courses.

Of the two, the newly revised Gustafson edition is the more conservative. Twelve poets have been added to the 1966 edition and a few have been eliminated, producing a longer volume. Robert Service has finally made it with "The Shooting of Dan McGrew." Why, I am not quite sure, except that he does suit the distinctive quality of “northness" that Gustafson has used as his theme. I'm surprised that Drummond is still included since, even in his own day, Drummond was accused of ridiculing French Canadians. Of the twenty-one poets born in 1936 and on, only two, Margaret Atwood and Gwen MacEwen, are women. The Penguin does have quite a good balance of old and new and is a useful chronological survey of Canadian poetry. There is a lot of verse to choose from, and the price is right. Sadly, Canadians and non-Canadians reading this book will not be exposed to any of the following really good contemporary poets: Marlatt, Jiles, Zieroth, Musgrave, Wayman, Fawcett, McKinnon, Fox, Suknaski, Sommer, Gervais, Barbour, Donnell, Geddes and McFadden, among others. Most of these are found in the Oxford.

Warner Winter, Emery C.I., North York, Ont.

*Reviewed vol. XI/2 March 1983 p.75.

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