The Ontario Poetry Society
Heny Beissel ~

About TOPS










Ted Plantos Dedication






Henry Beissel is a poet, playwright, translator, essayist, and editor who has published more than thirty books. His commitment to writing first came to national attention through the controversial political and literary journal EDGE which he founded in Edmonton, Alberta, and edited from 1963 to 1969. Since then he has published over a dozen volumes of poetry, six books of plays, translations from the works of Bauer, Huchel, Dorst, Ibsen, Mrozek, Neruda and Sophocles, short fiction and numerous essays as well as a book on Canada. He edited a Festschrift for Irving Layton, two anthologies of plays for High Schools, and more recently the magazine, Humanist Perspectives. Henry's work has been translated into many languages

Critics and fellow poets have acclaimed his poetry:

Patrick White writes: "Henry Beissel is undoubtedly a Canadian poet of the first rank. He writes with the clarity and precision demanded of a strict imagist, and yet manages, without overburdening the issue, to give the image symbolic weight."

The late F. R. Scott said about Cantos North: "The Canadian imagination, as elusive as the Canadian identity, is nevertheless a reality. Henry Beissel finds its constant source of strength and renewal in the wonder of our northland... This epic is the first to see it in its entirety, as a matrix which binds the whole together in a national mythology."

Gary Geddes in his introduction to Seasons of Blood, says of the poem that "It's a bold, impassioned plea to forsake the conflicts and wars that are the legacy of this blindness, in exchange for an immersion in nature and love. But the nature Beissel presents here is not just nurturing and beautiful, it' s violent and cataclysmic where winter is 'not a season / but a destiny for every sun'."

Keith Garebian says about "When Africa Calls Uhuru": The African elegy is like a massive synthesis of … personal wisdom, lyrical instinct and moral or humane impulse to find earnest truths in the womb of time. - The German Academy of Language and Poetry declared the bilingual edition of Fugitive Horizons to be "the most important international collection of poetry published in Germany in 2015."

Books in Print:
WITNESS THE HEART Toronto: Willow Green Press, 1963 (No ISBN)
NEW WINGS FOR ICARUS Toronto: Coach House , 1966 (No ISBN)
THE WORLD IS A RAINBOW Toronto: Canadian Music Centre, 1968, poems for children set to music by Wolfgang Bottenberg
FACE ON THE DARK Toronto: New Press, 1970 ISBN 0-8870-066-7
THE SALT I TASTE Montreal: DC Books, 1975 ISBN 0-919688-06-3
CANTOS NORTH Moonbeam: Penumbra Press, 1982 ISBN 0-920806-41-4
SEASON OF BLOOD Toronto: Mosaic Press, 1984 ISBN 0-88962-272-8
POEMS NEW AND SELECTED Toronto: Mosaic Press, 1987 ISBN 0-88962-358-9
AMMONITE Alexandria: Ayorama Editions, 1987 (Deluxe ed.; artwork by Friedhelm Lach) ISBN 0-919221-10-6
STONES TO HARVEST Alexandria: Ayorama Editions, 1987 (Deluxe ed., woodcuts by Dale Alpen-Whiteside) ISBN 0-919221-13-0, (trade ed.) Goderich: Moonstone Press, 1993 ISBN 0-920259-44-8
DYING I WAS BORN Waterloo: Penumbra Press, 1992 ISBN 0-921254-53-9 - Paperback: ISBN 0-921254-41-5
THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2002 ISBN 1-894543-12-2
ACROSS THE SUN'S WARP Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2003 ISBN 1- 894543- 6-5
COMING TO TERMS WITH A CHILD Windsor: Black Moss, 2011 ISBN 978-0-88753-489-8
SEASONS OF BLOOD Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2011 ISBN 978-1-894543-67-5
FUGITIVE HORIZONS Toronto: Guernica Editions, 2013 ISBN 978-1-55071-732-7
COMING TO TERMS WITH A CHILD / EIN KIND KOMMT ZUR SPRACHE, Marburg (Germany): Verlag LiteraturWissenschaft, 2015 ISBN 978-3-936134-45-2
FUGITIVE HORIZONS / FLÜCHTIGE HORIZONTE bilingual ed., German transl. Heide Fruth-Sachs, Marburg, Verlag Literatur Wissenschaft, 2016, ISBN 978-3-936134-50-6
SIGHTLINES Toronto: Guernica Editions, 2016 ISBN 978-1-77183-132-1

Selected Writing Awards:
Henry Beissel has read from his work across Canada as well as in the USA, South America, Europe, Africa, and China. He is the recipient of many awards and prizes, amongst them:
The Epstein Award for Creative Writing, University of Toronto, 1958
1st Walter-Bauer Literaturpreis, Merseburg/Leuna (Germany), 1994
First Prize, Poetry, Surrey International Writers' Conference, Vancouver 2006
Naji Naaman Literary Prize, 2008, Maison pour la culture, Beirut (Lebanon) for book length poem, "Where Shall the Birds Fly?" - includes lifetime membership of the Maison
Honorary Life Member, Guild of Canadian Playwrights, 2013
The University of Toronto "Henry Beissel Scholarship" in Creative Writing, established in 2015
Elected Honorary Member, Canadian Studies Institute, University of Marburg, 2015

Henry taught English literature at universities in Germany, the West Indies, and Canada. His special fields were medieval and modern literatures. In 1966 he joined the English faculty at Sir George Williams University, later renamed Concordia University, in Montreal. He founded a Creative Writing program at Concordia that still flourishes today. Upon his retirement from Concordia in 1996, Beissel was honoured with the title of Distinguished Emeritus Professor. He now lives with his wife, the literary translator and painter Arlette Francière, in Ottawa where he continues to write.

Henry Beissel, 34 Woodview Crescent, Ottawa, ON, K1B 3A9 - tel.: 613-845-0670
e-mail: behe29@gmail.com
website: www.henrybeissel.com