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George Bowering fonds. - 1961-1999. - 22.7 m of textual record and other material.

Biographical Sketch

Facing pages from George Bowering's notebook for HIS LIFE, A POEM
Facing pages from George Bowering's notebook for HIS LIFE, A POEM

Facing pages from George Bowering's notebook for His Life, a Poem.

Poet, novelist, editor, professor and radio personality, George Bowering was born in Penticton, British Columbia (B.C.) in 1935. He worked as a Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.) aerial photographer, then studied at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he earned a B.A. in History (1960) and an M.A. in English (1963). His masters thesis advisor, American poet Robert Creeley, and other Black Mountain College poets, such as Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, influenced Bowering and his UBC colleagues. He co-founded and edited tish (1961) with Frank Davey establishing a post-modernist, avant-garde movement in British Columbia. He also edited Imago (1964-74), The Beaver Kosmos Folios and four anthologies. Bowering received the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 1969 for Rocky Mountain Foot (1968) and Gangs of Kosmos (1969) and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1980 for his novel Burning Water. He held teaching positions at universities in Calgary, London (Ontario) and Montreal before returning to Vancouver in 1972 where he now resides and teaches at Simon Fraser University. He has adopted the pseudonyms Ed Prato and E.E. Greengrass for some of his reviews and letters to the editor and has used the pseudonym Ellen Field for poetry.

George Bowering's more recent works include The Rain Barrel (1994), a collection of short stories, the historical works Bowering's B.C.: A Swashbuckling History (1996) and Egoists and Autocrats: The Prime Ministers of Canada (1999); the volumes of poetry, Urban Snow (1992) and Blondes on Bikes (1997); the memoir The Moustache: Memoirs of Greg Curnoe (1993); the novel Shoot! (1994) and the collaborative novel Piccolo Mondo written with Angela Bowering, David Bromige and Mike Matthews. He also co-edited Likely Stories: A Post-modern Sampler (1992) a collection of 23 post-modern Canadian stories. Bowering is known for flaunting the conventions of language and literature in his work by parodying or blending styles and genres.

Scope and Content

The George Bowering fonds includes manuscripts and typescripts of many of his works, including: Geneve, Autobiology, Ear Reach, Kerrisdale Elegies, A Short Sad Book, Burning Water, Shoot!, Harry's Fragments, as well as unpublished stories, plays and novels. Approximately half of the fonds consists of correspondence with the community of West Coast writers and with other Canadian writers, scholars and artists; among them: Milton Acorn, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Avison, Bill Bissett, Victor Coleman, Greg Curnoe, Frank Davey, Hugh Hood, Joy Kogawa, Robert Kroetsch, Red Lane, Margaret Laurence, Irving Layton, Dorothy Livesay, Gwendolyn MacEwen, David McFadden, Barry McKinnon, John Newlove, bp Nichol, Al Purdy, Fred Wah and Phyllis Webb. The fonds includes notebooks, contracts, clippings, memorabilia and cassette tapes, as well as Information on Bowering's teaching and radio careers and his reading tours.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from George Bowering in 1985 [1985-04] and 1999 [1999-03].

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: some correspondence restricted.

Finding Aid: finding aids available for both accessions.

Associated Material: The George Bowering fonds at Queen's University archives includes early correspondence and manuscripts (1958-69). The University of British Columbia library has a small collection of drafts of poems and correspondence between Bowering and Earle Birney. In addition, the David Bromige fonds and the tish fonds are held at the University of Calgary.

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