Jay Macpherson Has Died

Sad news.  Jay Macpherson, a poet of eccentric genius, and one of Canada’s greatest writers, has died.  Evan Jones and I quickly agreed she was one of only a handful of poets who definitely had to be included in our 2010 anthology for Carcanet, Modern Canadian Poets.  Born in June 1931 in England, she remained a quasi-reclusive  figure for most of her adult life, albeit a professor at the University of Toronto.  It remains a mystery to me as to why she is not known as one of the last centuries best poets – her  work was as if Stevie Smith had the academic mind of Northrop Frye.  Her style – quirky, mythic, brilliantly lyric and concise, inspired me when I began writing.  She showed it was possible to write intelligent, elegant, sophisticated formal poems in Canada.