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Gary Geddes

Gary Geddes

Gary Geddes

(Canada, 1940)

“A concrete path extended from the dock
to the residential school, not a tree
or shrub to soften first impressions
or ease the shock of entry.”
- from: The Resumption of Play

Gary Geddes is a Canadian poet and writer.

Geddes is inspired by places, their history and the experiences of the people in them, also finding inspiration in newspaper articles. In his poetry, he draws connections between people’s experiences, nature and the land in an often nostalgic way, quoting memories and uncovering the humanity and pain behind their stories. By centralizing the characters and diving deep into their personal feelings, he creates an intimate setting, which allows the readers to immerse themselves in that particular reality. The connection between land and human experience prompts Geddes’ relentless outspokenness concerning issues of human rights and environmentalism.

After completing his doctorate at the University of Toronto, Geddes taught at several universities in Canada and abroad, including Western Washington University, where he was Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture. Gary Geddes has published twenty poetry collections, winning numerous awards such as the Lt.-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and the Gabriela Mistral Prize awarded by the government of Chile. Additionally, he writes fiction and drama and has been the editor of many significant anthologies, such as 70 Canadian Poets (2014). He has served as writer-in-residence at several universities and institutions.


Rivers Inlet. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1971. 
Poems. Waterloo: Waterloo Lutheran University, 1972. 
Snakeroot. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1973. 
Letter of the Master of Horse. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1973. 
War and Other Measures. Toronto: Anansi Press, 1976. 
The Acid Test. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1981. 
The Terracotta Army. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1984. 
Changes of State. Moose Jaw: Coteau, 1986. 
Hong Kong Poems. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1987. 
No Easy Exit. Lantzville: Oolichan, 1989. Trans. with Gonzalo Millan. 
Light of Burning Towers. Montreal: Vehicule, 1990. 
Girl by the Water. Winnipeg: Turnstone, 1994. 
The Perfect Cold Warrior. Kingston: Quarry, 1995. 
Active Trading: Selected Poems 1970-1995. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 1996. 
Flying Blind. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 1998. 
Skaldance. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 2004.
Falsework. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 2007. 
Swimming Ginger, Airborn Particles. (forthcoming) 

The Unsettling of the West. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1986.  

Letters from Managua: Meditations on Politics and Art. Kingston; Quarry, 1990. 
Sailing Home: A Journey through Time, Place and Memory. Toronto: HaprerCollins, 2001. 
Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things: An Impossible Journey from Kabul to Chiapas. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2005. 

Les maudits anglais. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 1984. (written in collaboration with Diana Bellshaw, David Fox, Linda Griffiths, John Jarvis, Paul Kelman, Claude Roussin and Paul Thompson). 

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère