Co-host Jaqueline Maire with one of Warren’s books.
The World Poetry Café Radio CFRO 100.5 FM , August 23, 2018. 1-2 PM PST, celebrated its 20 year on the air with a new segment in Living Memory . We welcomed the new series with a wonderful tribute to Dr. Warren Stevenson written by his two daughters. Co-host Jaqueline Maire and host Ariadne Sawyer, super tech Victor Schwartzman and special volunteer Sharon Rowe with her Big Bessie Story, read by Victor. Also a wonderful musician Jeff Densen with his new CD, Outside my Window He will have his own feature next. Subscribe to his newsletter and receive a demo at www.jeffdenson.com Courtesy of Braithwaite and Katz. Another talented award winning poet from the Lincoln Club, Jane Rowland with her lyrical poem: A Simple Courtship. We will read her second poem next week, Prayer to My Unborn Child.
Warren Stevenson was born in Hamilton Ontario in 1933. His mother divorced his musician father when Warren was young and enrolled him a year early in Hillfield School in his home town. He skipped another year at school, and a scholarship allowed him to do grade thirteen at Toronto’s Upper Canada College. Warren studied at Bishop’s University in Quebec where he met his wife Mary, continued at McGill for an MA (where he was a contemporary of Leonard Cohen; the two are published together in the 1954 edition of “Forge,” the student writing Journal. Leonard has two poems in there and Warren has a short story, set in Quebec’s Gaspe region, where he’d previously spent a summer teaching English to miners.) Warren earned his PhD by age 24 at Northwestern University, in Illinois. His thesis was on “Shakespeare’s Hand in The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kidd.” Scholarship and fatherhood were the constants of his life for the next many decades, as he and Mary, who was a school teacher and homemaker, had five children. After starting teaching in Manitoba, Warren spent the rest of his career teaching in the UBC English Department, publishing six books of literary criticism on the Romantic poets, as well as several volumes of his own poetry. He continued writing poetry well into retirement, as well as a lively pen pal relationship with Margaret Atwood. Retirement also meant a chance to read for his own pleasure, see many movies and plays, collect artwork, and also, of course, continue with his poetry-writing and his participation in the World Poetry Association’s events and comradeship. Warren is now a live wire in a wheelchair in a care home. And while he continues to be known there as “The Professor”, his memory and cognition have, like his body, suffered the slings and arrows of time and degeneration. But being a poet at heart, he can find joy and beauty in the small things, like the smell of a rose, or feeding and apple to the resident horse, aptly named “Beau” which had been Warren’s childhood nickname.
Note: Warren was ahead of his time with his interest in the myth of androgyny. One of his academic books he published is called Romanticism and the Androgynous Sublime Revisited A New Perspective of the English Romantic Poets in which he studies that theme in the works of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron Shelly and Keats.
*Tribute by his two daughters.
A short poem:
Why did you
who had written so beautifully
on the unity of life
when part of it flew in
through the open window?
By Dr. Warren Stevenson (C)
Book: The Western Path, Collected Poems by Dr. Warren Stevenson , Publisher: Multicultural Books of BC.