John Newlove lived in Vancouver, off and on, from 1960 to 1967, publishing his first two books from B.C. Born in Regina on June 13, 1938, he worked at the UBC Bookstore and taught briefly at David Thompson University Centre in Nelson in the early 1980s. He received the Governor-General's Award in 1972 for Lies and published numerous other books of poetry. Newlove was poetry editor at McClelland & Stewart from 1970 to 1974 and he worked as an editor with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the mid-1980s. John Metcalf edited his collected poems, Apology for Absence, in 1993. He described Newlove as "a gentleman, a voracious reader, a superb poet, a collector of antiquities--a very scholarly character in certain ways." Newlove returned to Vancouver for readings in 1986, 2000 and 2003. An alcoholic who suffered a stroke in 2001, Newlove died on December 23, 2003. A memorial tribute was held at the Vancouver Public Library on February 24, 2004 with readings of his work by Colin Browne, Pierre Coupey, Fred Douglas, Warren Dean Fulton, Gerry Gilbert, Bernice Lever, Mike Matthews, John Pass, Jamie Reid and Robert R. Reid. A 2006 documentary on Newlove, directed by Robert McTavish, What To Make of it All? The Life and Poetry of John Newlove, features contributions by fellow poets such as bill bissett and George Bowering. It was shown at the Western Front Lodge on February 8, 2008 to coincide with the launch of a posthumous volume edited by Robert McTavish, A Long Continual Argument: The Selected Poems of John Newlove (Chaudiere Books $22).


Grave Sirs; Poems. Vancouver : R. Reid & T. Tanabe, 1962.

Elephants, Mothers & Others. Vancouver: Periwinkle P, 1963.

Moving in Alone. Toronto: Contact P, 1965.

Notebook Pages. Lithographs. Toronto, C. Pachter, 1966.

Burn. Platteville, Wis.: 1967.

What they Say. Kitchener, Ont.: Weed/flower P, 1967.

Black Night Window. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1968.

3 Poems. Vancouver: Western P, 1968.

The Cave. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970.

7 Disasters, 3 Theses, and Welcome Home: Click. Vancouver: Very Stone House in Transit, 1971.

Lies. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972.

Moving in Alone. 2d ed. Lantzville, B.C.: Oolichan Books, 1977.

The Fat Man: Selected Poems, 1962-1972. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977.

Elephants. Canadian Poets on Posters 7. Calgary: Poetry Goes Public, 1978.

The Green Plain. Lantzville, B.C.: Oolichan Books, 1981.

Three Poems. Prince George, B.C.: Gorse Press, 1985.

The Night the Dog Smiled. Toronto: ECW Pres, 1986.

Poems. Magnum readings 26. Ottawa: Magnum Book Store, 1993.

Apology for Absence: Selected Poems 1962-1992. Erin, Ontario: Porcupine's Quill, 1993.

A Long Continual Argument: The Selected Poems of John Newlove (Chaudiere Books 2008). Edited by Robert McTavish. Afterword by Jeff Derksen. 978-0-9781601-1-1

[BCBW 2008]