Recent Acquisitions

A complete run of the first eleven volumes of Bywords: Volume 1, Number 1 (November 1990) to Volume 11, Number 4 (February 2001). Acquired generously from Seymour Mayne. I can’t wait to have time to pour over these closely. The listings of community events in each issue from these eleven years are fascinating on their own, to say nothing of the poetry. It’s a shame that these were never culled for an anthology, but perhaps someday.

A set of M&S books from the late 1950s and early 1960s designed by Frank Newfeld. Newfeld’s contributions to the visual branding of CanLit in the 1950s and 60s would be difficult to overstate. He designed the original New Canadian Library series, as well as these (and other) important titles. Layton’s Red Carpet for the Sun (1959), Sheila Watson’s The Double Hook (1958), The Mad Shadows (1960) by Marie-Claire Blais, a set of important poetry titles (Ralph Gustafson’s Rivers Among Rocks (1960) pictured here, but others by Leonard Cohen, Phyllis Gotlieb, and Roy Daniells as well). There are a bunch of great posts on Newfeld’s work at The Dusty Bookcase worth reading, with loads of photos and intelligent commentary: one, two, three, four. Absolutely gorgeous books.

His designs for Layton’s Red Carpet and Balls for a One-Armed Juggler were the inspiration for the promotional postcard we designed for the upcoming Irving Layton Symposium at the University of Ottawa. These are iconic Layton images, the images that branded him at the height of his national and international celebrity. Newfeld’s work was hugely visible.

I also got my hands on his memoir Drawing On Type (Erin ON: The Porcupine’s Quill, 2008) which I can’t wait to dive into, if only this damn comps reading list wasn’t so long…

And speaking of the Layton Symposium, have you seen the call for creative submissions?


Whatever Else: An Irving Layton Symposium

In May 2013 the English Department at the University of Ottawa will be hosting an Irving Layton Symposium. Fulls details of the CFP are available here.

There is a related literary project in the works called “Layton Reloaded,” and we want submissions. Go spend an afternoon, or even an hour, reading Layton poems and see what happens. For the years of critical neglect, and the unsavoury dimensions of his character, the best of his work stands up and is deserving of response. Call for submissions below:

In conjunction with “Whatever Else: An Irving Layton Symposium, to be held at the University of Ottawa May 3-5, 2013, and in recognition of the centenary of Layton’s birth, we invite writers to respond—whether by way of homage, parody, retort, homolinguistic translation, or any other dialectical form (glossa, travesty, echo poem, etc.)—to a Layton poem of their choice. Our favorites will be published on the symposium website (, and we are exploring the possibility of other forms of publication as well. Please send your response, along with the title of the original poem, to Robert Stacey at or Cameron Anstee at under the subject heading “Layton Reloaded.”
Submissions are due April 1, 2013.