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Margaret Avison, OC (April 23, 1918 – July 31, 2007) was a Canadian poet.[1]

Avison was born in Galt, Ontario. She attended Victoria College and the University of Toronto. Aside from her poetry, she also worked as a librarian, editor, social worker, and speaker. Her first collection of poems was called The Winter Sun, which won the Governor General's Award. Her later collection, No Time, also won the Governor General's Award. In 2003 her work Concrete and Wild Carrot won the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Avison could be considered a spiritual or metaphysical poet. She converted to Christianity in 1963. In 1984 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Margaret Avison died in Toronto on July 31 2007, age 89, from undisclosed causes.





  • Momentary Dark. McClelland & Stewart, 2006
  • "Political Ploy Perhaps" from Momentary Dark, online at CBC Words at Large
  • Concrete and Wild Carrot. Brick Books, 2002 (winner of the 2003 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • No Time. Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot P, 1989; Brick Books, 1998.
  • Not Yet but Still. Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot P, 1997; Brick Books, 1998.
  • Selected Poems. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1991.
  • Winter Sun/ The Dumbfounding: poems, 1940-66. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1982.
  • sunblue. Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot Press, 1978
  • The Cosmic Chef Glee & Perloo Memorial Society under the direction of Captain Poetry presents an evening of concrete (poems by Margaret Avison [and others] edited by B.P. Nichol.); courtesy Oberon Cement Works. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1970
  • The Dumbfounding. New York: Norton, 1966
  • Winter Sun. London: Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1960


  • A kind of perseverance. Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot Press, 1994
  • A Doctor's Memoirs (from papers and conversations with Dr. A. I. Wolinsky) Macmillan, 1960
  • Acta Sanctorum (translation in collaboration with Ilona Duczynska & Peter Owen, 1966)
  • History of Ontario [for Grade VII] [illustrations by Selwyn Dewdney]. Toronto : W. J. Gage, 1951.
  • The research compendium; review and abstracts of graduate research, 1942-1962. [Toronto] University of Toronto Press [c1964]

Works on Margaret Avison


  • Kent, David, ed. Lighting Up The Terrain: The Poetry of Margaret Avison. Toronto: ECW, 1987.
  • Margaret Avison and Her Works. Toronto: ECW, 1989.
  • Mazoff, Chaim D. Waiting for the Son: Images of Release and Restoration in Margaret Avison's Poetry. Dunvegan, Ont.: Cormorant, 1989.


  • Anderson, Mia. "Conversation with the Star Messenger: An Enquiry into Margaret Avison's Winter Sun." Studies in Canadian Literature/Etudes en Literature Canadienne (SCL), 6.1 (1981): 82-132.
  • Bowen, Deborah. "Phoenix from the Ashes: Lorna Crozier and Margaret Avison in Contemporary Mourning." Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews. 40 (1997): 46-57.
  • Calverley, Margaret. "'Service Is Joy': Margaret Avison's Sonnet Sequence in Winter Sun."Essays on Canadian Writing. 50 (1993): 210-30.
  • "The Avison Collection at the University of Manitoba: Poems 1929-89." Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews. 28 (1991): 54-84.
  • Cohn-Sfetcu, Ofelia. "To Live in Abundance of Life: Time in Canadian Literature." Canadian Literature. 76 (1978): 25-36.
  • Guptara, Prabhu S. "A Dark Reservoir of Gladness: Margaret Avison's Third Volume of Verse."The Literary Criterion. 16.1 (1981): 42-45.
  • Jones, Lawrence M. "A Core of Brilliance: Margaret Avison's Achievement." Canadian Literature. 38 (1968): 50-57.
  • Kent, David A. "Wholehearted Poetry; Halfhearted Criticism." Essays on Canadian Writing. 44 (1991): 67-78.
  • Mazoff, David. "Through the Son: An Explication of Margaret Avison's 'Person.'" Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews. 22: (1988): 40-48.
  • Moisan, Clement. "Rina Lasnier et Margaret Avison." Liberte. 108 (1976): 21-33.
  • New, William H. "The Mind's (I's) (Ice): The Poetry of Margaret Avison." Twentieth Century Literature: A Scholarly and Critical Journal. 16 (1970): 185-202.
  • Quinsey, K. M. "The Dissolving Jail-Break in Avison." Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews. 25 (1989): 21-37.
  • Redekop, Ernest H. "Sun/Son Light/Light: Avison's Elemental Sunblue." Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews. 7 (1980): 21-37.
  • Somerville, Christine. "The Shadow of Death: Margaret Avison's 'Just Left or The Night Margaret Laurence Died.'" New, W. H. (ed.). Inside the Poem: Essays and Poems in Honour of Donald Stephens. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1992: 55-59.
  • Sullivan, R. "The Territory of Conscience: The Poetry of Margaret Avison." Literary Half-Yearly." 32.1 (1991): 43-55.
  • Zezulka, J. M. "Refusing the Sweet Surrender: Margaret Avison's 'Dispersed Titles'" Canadian Poetry 1 (1977): 44-53.
  • Zichy, Francis. "'Each in His Prison/Thinking of the Key': Images of Confinement and Liberation in Margaret Avison." Studies in Canadian Literature. 3 (1978): 232-43.

Source for list of publications: "100 Canadian Poets" and the Margaret Avison page at the Canadian Poetry website


External links


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