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Eli Mandel (as Wolf) Biography

(1922–1992), Trio, Fuseli Poems, An Idiot Joy, Stony Plain, Out of Place, Life Sentence

poems jewish poetry saskatchewan

Canadian poet and critic, born in Esteven, Saskatchewan, educated at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto. Mandel began publishing verse in small magazines in the early 1950s; his first notable collection, ‘Minotaur Poems’, appeared along with poems by Phyllis Webb and Gael Turnbull in Trio (1954). His first individual volume was Fuseli Poems (1960), where the title pays homage to the eighteenth-century Swiss-English poet, whose tragic subjects and Gothic landscapes provided an inspiration for Mandel's own reflections on human suffering and the harshness of the natural world. It was followed by An Idiot Joy (1967) and Stony Plain (1973), in which his Jewish background and the horrors of twentieth-century Jewish history first become overt subjects. Later work has included Out of Place (1977), which deals with his Jewish Saskatchewan origins in a mode which questions the referential quality of language, and Life Sentence (1981), a collection inspired by his travels in Latin America and India, which interrogates the autobiographical form. Mandel moved from a dense and opaque allusiveness to a more colloquial and accessible style, with later work adopting more experimental modes. Other volumes of poetry include Black and Secret Man (1964), Crusoe: Poems Selected and New (1973), and Dreaming Backwards: Selected Poems (1981). Mandel also edited several important anthologies of Canadian poetry, including Poets of Contemporary Canada: 1960–1970 (1972). His critical writing, which is informed by the same questioning approach to language as his poetry, includes Irving Layton (1969), Another Time (1977), and The Family Romance (1986).

Mandelbaum Gate, The [next]

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