concerning Raymond Souster (1921-2012)
Conduit mournfully acknowledges the passing of Raymond Souster this week. He was a giant of Canadian poetry and of poetry publishing in Canada. His influence is impossible to mitigate in the development of 20th century Canadian poetry. By facilitating the influence of Robert Creeley & other American poets to Ontario he helped transform an entire generation of Canadian poets.
In my interviews with Michael Gnarowski he spoke fondly of Souster. If he were visiting Toronto they would meet for lunch & ‘good old Ray’ would always have a brown bag in his hand, with only one hour to spare from the bank.
On a personal note, during one of the toughest personal times in my life, my best friends (who at the time also happened to be brilliant writers associated with the In/Words group out of Carleton University, whom this blog will certainly mention again and have published in print form) came together & purchased a first edition copy of Souster’s Colour of the Times for me, an essential book of poetry. This is still the book I pick up when I need to remind myself of why writing poetry is worthwhile.