Inward of Poetry: George Johnston & Wm. Blissett in Letters
The Porcupine's Quill, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 431 pages
An essential part of the folklore of Canadian academia in the 1950s and 60s, George Johnston's poems were recited with glee by readers largely unaware of their publication abroad in the New Yorker, Partisan Review, Poetry (Chicago) and The Spectator. This book shows the making of those poems, and several hitherto unpublished ones, forged in the hard craft of Icelandic saga, American Imagism, and in the voices of family and community Johnston took as his material.
William Blissett enjoys a unique presence in academic folklore today, having seeded it with his perceptions and sayings for over sixty years as an authority on Wagner and the shape of literary modernism, Renaissance epic and drama; the work of his friend, the modernist poet David Jones, and his friend, George Johnston, whose poems he frequently critiqued in draft.
Sean Kane, once a student of both Johnston and Blissett, engagingly presents a friendship told in fifty years of letters between the two men, set in the affectionate, gossipy, aspiring world of English Studies in Canada when it was ruled by A.S.P. Woodhouse and Northrop Frye.