FIAMENGO, Marya




Author Tags: Poetry

Born in Vancouver in October 24, 1926, the daughter of parents from the Croatian island of Vis, Marya Ekaterina Fiamengo was a Vancouver-based poet who earned a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing from UBC under the direction of Earle Birney and Dorothy Livesay. She then taught in the English Department at UBC from 1962 to 1993. She retired in West Vancouver, then later moved to Gibsons, B.C. "My work is strongly influenced by my Slavic background which in no way dilutes but rather reinforces my sense of Canada," she has said.

Designed and printed by Takao Tanabe, her first collection of poetry, The Quality of Halves, was also the first book issued from Klanak Press, the literary imprint operated by lawyer William McConnell, who contributed a preface. [See William McConnell] Some of Fiamengo's work was included in Forty Women Poets of Canada, edited by Dorothy Livesay in 1972, and has appeared in other anthologies. She was married to artist Jack Hardman. Part of her life is featured in the book, The Life and Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman, LeRoy Jensen, from Mother Tongue Publishing.

Reviewing her Patience after Compline, George Woodcock wrote in BC BookWorld, "Fiamengo sees human destiny in modified elegiac terms; the disasters seem inevitable but perhaps they can be averted. But only if man can learn from the past, which is perhaps the most difficult feat of all." In 1996, Gary Geddes wrote in BC BookWorld, "Marya Fiamengo has written a book whose principal thematic concerns are lost and healing, for which she prescribes equal doses of nature and verbal music. White Linen Remembered is an intensely lyrical book that certainly ought to be a contender for the next Dorothy Livesay Prize."

Since the early 1970s, Fiamengo was a passionate advocate of Canadian cultural and national autonomy. Visible Living: Poems Selected and New (2006) was a tribute to her life's work edited by Seymour Mayne, Russell Thornton, and Fiamengo's niece, critic Janice Fiamengo. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, "collections like In Praise of Old Women (1976) and North of the Cold Star: New and Selected Poems (1978) reflect an increasingly politicized perspective. While remaining ardently political, her later volumes are more contemplative and feature her characteristic merging of images drawn from the natural world, classical icons, and ancient liturgy." She released seven volumes of poetry and died at age 86, on July 5, 2013, survived by her son Matthew Dimitri Hardman, his wife Ingeborg and their children, as well as her younger brother Vincent Fiamengo, and his wife Helen and daughter Janice. The remembrance services were held at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Gibsons, B.C., on July 20th, 2013.

BOOKS

The Quality of Halves & Other Poems (Vancouver: Klanak Press, 1958).
The Ikon: Measured Work.
Silt of Iron (Montreal: Ingluvin, 1971). With ten drawings by Jack Shadbolt.
North of the Cold Star: New and Selected Poems (Mosaic Press/Valley Editions, 1978).
HOBOTICA (The Octopus) (Vancouver: The Poem Factory, 1992).
White Linen Remembered (Ronsdale, 1996).
Patience after Compline (Oakville: Mosaic Press, 1999).
Visible Living: Poems Selected and New (Ronsdale Press, 2007).

ALSO:

Poster Poem Two: Overheard at the Oracle: Poems of Chance Based On the I Ching (Vancouver: Very Stone House, 1969). Broadside illustrated by G.A.Y. Taylor
In Praise of Older Women (Valley Editions, 1976). Booklet.

[BCBW 2013] "Poetry"