Apr 9, 2018
Eli MacLaren is an Assistant Professor of English at McGill University in Montreal. Subjects taught include Canadian poetry and fiction; First Nations writers; bibliography and the history of the book. We met to discuss an article he wrote for Canadian Poetry entitled ‘Significant Little Offerings: The Origin of the Ryerson Poetry Chap-Books, 1925–26'. We talk, among other things, about the literary publishing environment in Canada during the 1920s, Lorne Pierce's idealistic nation building, risk, the desire for a national literature, restrictive copyright laws, Confederation poet Charles G.D. Roberts, Ryerson's Makers of Canadian Literature series, authors covering publishing costs, romantic versus modernist poetry, the arts and craft look of the chap-books, poetry's goal of moving the average reader and making sense of death, author's lives informing their poetry, shining light on neglected works, the origins of chap-books, and the birth of the small press movement in Canada.