Gustafson, Ralph Barker


Gustafson, Ralph Barker
▪ 1996

      Canadian poet (b. Aug. 16, 1909, Lime Ridge, Que.—d. May 29, 1995, North Hatley, Que.), was renowned for his exquisitely crafted verse, which in its simplicity defines a Canadian sense of place while celebrating the country's geography and examining European influences that shaped the nation. Other recurring themes include travel and music, respectively in Ixion's Wheel (1969) and Visions Fugitive, an unpublished volume and his last work. Gustafson was educated at Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Que., and the University of Oxford. During the early 1930s he was a music instructor in Ontario and later a freelance writer in London. He settled in New York and worked for British Information Services (1942-46) but returned to Canada to teach (1963-79) at Bishop's University, where he remained until his retirement. His early poetry, including such volumes as The Golden Chalice (1935), Lyrics Unromantic (1942), and Flight into Darkness (1944), showed a progressive individuality of style. Later works such as Rocky Mountain Poems (1960), Sift in an Hourglass (1966), and Selected Poems (1972) were sometimes obscure but were considered among his best works. Gustafson was also a founding member in 1966 of the League of Canadian Poets, the editor of several poetry anthologies, and the author of short story collections, including The Brazen Tower (1974) and The Vivid Air (1980). In 1974 he won the Governor-General's Award for Fire on Stone, and in 1994 he published his latest book of poetry, Tracks in the Snow, which deals with the end of life.

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▪ Canadian poet
born Aug. 16, 1909, Lime Ridge, near Sherbrooke, Que., Can.
died May 29, 1995, North Hatley, Que.

      Canadian poet whose work shows a development from traditional form and manner to an elliptical poetry that reflects the influence of Anglo-Saxon verse and the metrical experiments of the 19th-century British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

      Gustafson earned a B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Oxford and then became a tutor and journalist in London. He returned to Canada briefly in 1934 and again in 1938 and then settled in New York after World War II. He later returned again to Canada, teaching at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec (1963–79).

      Gustafson's early volumes of verse, such as The Golden Chalice (1935), Lyrics Unromantic (1942), and Flight into Darkness (1944), were often steeped in antiquity and ancient mythology; they showed a gradually increasing individuality of style and responded to the new approach to poetry espoused by fellow Canadian poets such as A.J.M. Smith (Smith, A.J.M.). Gustafson's later works, which are usually considered his better writings, reflect his passion for travel, music, and the landscapes and seasons of Quebec's Eastern Townships region. They include Rocky Mountain Poems (1960), Rivers Among Rocks (1960), Sift in an Hourglass (1966), Ixion's Wheel (1969), Fire on Stone (1974), Conflicts of Spring (1981), Plummets and Other Partialities and Winter Prophesies (both 1987), Shadows in the Grass (1991), and Tracks in the Snow (1994). Visions Fugitive was published posthumously in 1996. Gustafson also produced two collections of short stories, The Brazen Tower (1974) and The Vivid Air (1980).

Additional Reading
Dermot McCarthy, A Poetics of Place: The Poetry of Ralph Gustafson (1991).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Gustafson, Ralph (Barker) — born Aug. 16, 1909, Lime Ridge, near Sherbrooke, Que., Can. died May 29, 1995, North Hatley Canadian poet. Gustafson attended the University of Oxford; he settled in New York after World War II but later returned to Canada. His work shows a… …   Universalium

  • Gustafson, Ralph (Barker) — (16 ago. 1909, Lime Ridge, cerca de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canadá–29 may. 1995, North Hatley). Poeta canadiense. Asistió a la Universidad de Oxford; después de la segunda guerra mundial se instaló en Nueva York, pero más tarde regresó a Canadá. Sus… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • ralph — /ralf/, v.i. Slang. to vomit. [1970 75; appar. of expressive orig.] * * * (as used in expressions) Abernathy Ralph David Blakelock Ralph Bunche Ralph Johnson Connor Ralph Cudworth Ralph Earnhardt Ralph Dale Ehrlich Paul Ralph Ellison Ralph Waldo… …   Universalium

  • Ralph — /ralf/ or, esp. Brit., /rayf, rahf, rahlf/, n. a male given name: from Old Norse words meaning counsel and wolf. * * * (as used in expressions) Abernathy Ralph David Blakelock Ralph Bunche Ralph Johnson Connor Ralph Cudworth Ralph Earnhardt Ralph …   Universalium

  • Ralph — (as used in expressions) Abernathy, Ralph David Blakelock, Ralph Bunche, Ralph (Johnson) Connor, Ralph Cudworth, Ralph Earnhardt, (Ralph) Dale Ehrlich, Paul R(alph) Ellison, Ralph (Waldo) Emerson, Ralph Waldo Gustafson, Ralph (Barker) Lauren,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ralph Gustafson — Ralph Barker Gustafson (16 August 1909 ndash; 29 May 1995) was a Canadian poet and professor at Bishop s University. Biography He was born in Lime Ridge, Quebec on August 16, 1909. His mother was British, his father Swedish. He was educated at… …   Wikipedia

  • Gustafson — A derivative of the name Gustav, Gustafson, Gustafsson, Gustavson, and/or Gustavsson, is a group of fairly common surnames of Swedish origin, and may refer to any of the following people: Gustafson *Andy Gustafson, American collegiate football… …   Wikipedia

  • cañada — /keuhn yah deuh, yad euh/, n. Chiefly Western U.S. 1. a dry riverbed. 2. a small, deep canyon. [1840 50; < Sp, equiv. to cañ(a) CANE + ada n. suffix] * * * Canada Introduction Canada Background: A land of vast distances and rich natural resources …   Universalium

  • Canada — /kan euh deuh/, n. a nation in N North America: a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 29,123,194; 3,690,410 sq. mi. (9,558,160 sq. km). Cap.: Ottawa. * * * Canada Introduction Canada Background: A land of vast distances and rich natural… …   Universalium

  • Liste der Members des Order of Canada/G — Members des Order of Canada   A B C D E F G H I J K L …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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