This biography of George Bowering, first Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, reveals the intimate, intellectual, and artistic life of one of Canada’s most prolific authors, offering an inside look at the people and events at the centre of the country’s literary and artistic avant-garde from the 1960s to the present.
A distinguished novelist, poet, editor, professor, historian, and tireless supporter of fellow writers, two-time Governor General’s Award winner George Bowering was born in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. After serving as an aerial photographer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Bowering earned a BA in English and history and an MA in English at the University of British Columbia, where he became one of the co-founders of the seminal avant-garde poetry magazine TISH. He has taught literature at the University of Calgary, Concordia University, and Simon Fraser University, and he continues to act as a Canadian literary ambassador. Bowering has authored more than one hundred books, including works of poetry, fiction, memoir, criticism, and youth fiction; his writing has also been translated into multiple languages. He has been shortlisted for the Griffin Prize for Poetry, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, and the BC National Non-Fiction Award.
Starting in 2011, this legend of Canadian letters allowed former Vancouver Sun book pages editor Rebecca Wigod to interview him more than twenty times, even lending her his extensive diaries. She gives this account of his life and work twenty chapters – Bowering’s preferred length for a book – and structures it in “slices” (chapter titles include “The Varsity Man,” “The Husband,” and “The Sports Fan”), as he might.
As a writer and as a person, Bowering is so prolific and so complicated that without a primer, it’s easy to misunderstand him. But now you have one: He Speaks Volumes will be an indispensable guide to the life, work, and community of this multifaceted writer.
Note: An error in He Speaks Volumes has come to our attention. The credit line on page xv should read: “Margaret Atwood’s foreword was originally commissioned by The Capilano Review for the ‘Bowering’s Books’ issue, TCR 3.24. Reproduced with permission from Curtis Brown Group, Ltd, London, on behalf of Margaret Atwood. Copyright ©️ O.W. Toad 2014. Thanks to The Capilano Review for their kind assistance.”