The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther

By Christine Wiesenthal

© 2005

Since her untimely death in 1975, the life and work of the Vancouver poet Pat Lowther have often been referred to as 'the Lowther legacy.' In The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther, Christine Wiesenthal seeks to convey what that legacy actually entails.

Combining biography with an analysis of literary and cultural history, Wiesenthal examines the critical legacy of a writer whose remarkable life and poetry have remained overshadowed by her notorious death. Working within a new form of biography, which employs multiple narrative arcs - or 'half-lives' - that interpret Lowther's life and poetry within and across several interpretive frameworks, Wiesenthal retraces the influences on the public memory of the poet. She charts Lowther's complex creative evolution: from her modest beginnings as a high-school drop out and single mother, to her emergence as one of the most distinctive poetic voices of the seventies.

A wealth of previously uncollected and unpublished letters, notebook entries, court documents, interviews, and archival materials illuminate Pat Lowther's manifold achievements in her domestic, political, and intellectual lives. The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther is the premier work on this remarkable figure.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 530 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.7in x 1.9in x 9.7in
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SKU# SP000592

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2005

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A wealth of previously uncollected and unpublished letters, notebook entries, court documents, interviews, and archival materials illuminate Pat Lowther's manifold achievements in her domestic, political, and intellectual lives. The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther is the premier work on this remarkable figure.

The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther

By Christine Wiesenthal

© 2005

Since her untimely death in 1975, the life and work of the Vancouver poet Pat Lowther have often been referred to as 'the Lowther legacy.' In The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther, Christine Wiesenthal seeks to convey what that legacy actually entails.

Combining biography with an analysis of literary and cultural history, Wiesenthal examines the critical legacy of a writer whose remarkable life and poetry have remained overshadowed by her notorious death. Working within a new form of biography, which employs multiple narrative arcs - or 'half-lives' - that interpret Lowther's life and poetry within and across several interpretive frameworks, Wiesenthal retraces the influences on the public memory of the poet. She charts Lowther's complex creative evolution: from her modest beginnings as a high-school drop out and single mother, to her emergence as one of the most distinctive poetic voices of the seventies.

A wealth of previously uncollected and unpublished letters, notebook entries, court documents, interviews, and archival materials illuminate Pat Lowther's manifold achievements in her domestic, political, and intellectual lives. The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther is the premier work on this remarkable figure.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 530 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.7in x 1.9in x 9.7in
  • Reviews

    'Deftly analyzing both the canonization and desecration strategies that have shaped the Lowther legacies, Wiesenthal wisely moves beyond the victimization myth and characterizations of the poet as a "prescient Cassandra".…Few poets would be fortunate to have so intelligent and painstaking an advocate. Wiesenthal has not only rescued many precious and vanishing fragments of the life story, but also brought into focus the very complex mythological and scientific material Lowther was consuming like a blast furnance and trying to incorporate into her work.'


    Gary Geddes
    The Globe and Mail
  • Author Information

    Christine Wiesenthal is a Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Toward a Half-Life of Pat Lowther
    I The Craft of Memory
    1 Three September Twenty-Threes
    2 Not about Poetry
    3 Canonicity and the 'Cult of the Victim'
    II Complicated Airflows in the House
    4 'At, Rat, Cat, Sat, Pat'
    5 5823 St George Street
    6 A Difficult Flowering
    7 That 'Spinning Female Thing'
    8 It Happens Every Day
    III Ready to Learn Politics
    9 The First 'Red Flag'
    10 The Local Left
    11 The Age of the Bird
    12 Longitudes, North
    13 Longitudes, South
    14 Welcome to the League
    IV Philosophy's First Molecule
    15 Infinite Mirror Trips
    16 The Land Is What's Left
    17 'History, and Context, and Continuity'

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