Stephen Morrissey

A Poet's Journey: on poetry
and what it means to be a poet

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Stephen Morrissey’s A Poet’s Journey: on poetry and what it means to be a poet includes essays and notes on becoming a poet and the art of poetry. Writing from a poet’s perspective Morrissey discusses the influence of older poets who act as mentors; the poet friends of one’s youth; poets whose books influence one’s own work; and the varied experiences of life that are important to the development of the poet’s writing. The art of poetry includes ideas about poetry; poetry as the voice of the human soul; visionary poetry; the purpose of experimental poetry; confessional poetry; and finding an authentic voice in poetry. Included, as well, are some of Morrissey’s early experiments in concrete poetry. The essays in this book are the culmination of a lifetime of thinking about what it means to be a poet and the art of poetry.

Stephen Morrissey was born in Montreal, Canada. Morrissey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Honours in English with Distinction, from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in 1973. In 1976 he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from McGill University. Morrissey won the Peterson Poetry Award while at McGill. Later, Morrissey taught English literature at Champlain College from 1976 to 2011.
In the mid-1970s Stephen Morrissey was associated with the Véhicule Poets, a group of young poets who organized poetry readings at Véhicule Art Gallery and brought about a rebirth of contemporary poetry in Montreal. Morrissey’s first book of poems, The Trees of Unknowing, was published by Véhicule Press in 1978. In 1983 Coach House Press in Toronto published Morrissey’s second book of poems, Divisions. Northrop Frye wrote, “Divisions…I found extremely powerful, at once visionary and movingly personal.” 
Stephen Morrissey has published nine books of poetry and several chapbooks. He has received writer’s grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 1997 the Government of Quebec named an island in northern Quebec after a phrase from one of his poems, “La Vingt-Septieme Lettre”. A French translation of The Mystic Beast was published by Les Éditions Triptyque as la bête mystique in 2004.
The Stephen Morrissey Papers, 1963 - 2014, are housed at Rare Books and Special Collections of the McLennan Library of McGill University.

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ISBN 978-1-77171-356-6
126 Pages
5.5 x 8.5
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