Sharing the Past: The Reinvention of History in Canadian Poetry since 1960
Sharing the Past is an unprecedentedly detailed account of the intertwining discourses of Canadian history and creative literature. When social history emerged as its own field of study in the 1960s, it promised new stories that would bring readers away from the elite writing of academics and closer to the everyday experiences of people. Yet, the academy’s continued emphasis on professional distance and objectivity made it difficult for historians to connect with the experiences of those about whom they wrote, and those same emphases made it all but impossible for non-academic experts to be institutionally recognized as historians.
Drawing on interviews and new archival materials to construct a history of Canadian poetry written since 1960, Sharing the Past argues that the project of social history has achieved its fullest expression in lyric poetry, a genre in which personal experiences anchor history. Developing this genre since 1960, Canadian poets have provided an inclusive model for a truly social history that indiscriminately shares the right to speak authoritatively of the past.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 336 pages
- Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.2in x 9.1in
"I teach many of the poems discussed in Sharing the Past. With impressive readings of Al Purdy and John Newlove, in particular, J.A. Weingarten’s arguments are lucid, careful, and persuasive."
Neil Besner, Department of English, University of Winnipeg
"Weingarten contrasts Canadian poetry since 1960 with the fiction that usually dominates our understanding of this era. While novels often use the parodic strategies of what Linda Hutcheon calls ‘historiographic metafiction,’ many Canadian poets take a more personal and partial approach, finding in ‘the familial past’ a way out of uncertainty. Weingarten begins with Al Purdy and John Newlove, who ‘demonstrate to centennial-era writers that a sophisticated history obliges their admission of epistemological limits.’ After discussions of both canonical (Margaret Atwood and Lorna Crozier) and unrecognized poets (Barry McKinnon and Andrew Suknaski), Weingarten concludes with an account of the ‘subversive potential’ of Joan Crate’s Pale as Real Ladies: Poems for Pauline Johnson."
Tracy Ware, Department of English Language and Literature, Queen’s University
"Sharing the Past answers a series of essential questions about the most important cohort in Canadian poetry since the Confederation era: Who were they? Why was history so integral to their project? How did they help to invent Canadian history with their poetry? Weingarten’s survey of this transnational generation presents a sophisticated model of excellent research, sharp analysis, and thoroughly contemporary methodology. This book represents a major step forward in bringing twentieth-century Canadian poetry into focus, effectively calibrating ongoing discussions with new considerations of decolonization, skeptical historicism, and new media theories."
Gregory Betts, Craig Dobbin Professor for Canadian Studies, University College Dublin
Author InformationJ.A. Weingarten is a professor in the School of Language and Liberal Studies at Fanshawe College.
Table of contents
Al Purdy’s Modern Skepticism
Developing a Lyric Historiography
Lyric and Regionalism: Challenging Histories Part 1
The Métis Uprisings: Challenging Histories Part 2
Inheriting the Past
The “Edge of the Photograph”: Developmental Long Poems
Figurative Families and Feminism
Indigeneity and Performance: The Fictions of Nations
The Future of History
Subjects and Courses