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A. J. M. Smith (Arthur James Marshall Smith) Biography

(1902–80), (Arthur James Marshall Smith), New Provinces: Poems of Several Authors

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk

Canadian editor, critic, and poet, born in Montreal, educated at McGill and Edinburgh Universities. He played an important role in what became known as ‘the Montreal Group’, the most significant avantgarde Canadian literary movement of its day. In association with F. R. Scott, A. M. Klein, and E. J. Pratt he produced New Provinces: Poems of Several Authors (1936) and went on to become extremely influential as an editor. His anthologies include The Book of Canadian Poetry: A Critical and Historical Anthology (1943), The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English and French (1960), Modern Canadian Verse (1967), and two collections of criticism, Masks of Fiction (1961) and Masks of Poetry (1962). Smith also produced a significant body of criticism, collected in Towards a View of Canadian Letters (1973) and On Poetry and Poets (1977), and poetry, written in a range of styles—lyrical, satirical, metaphysical, and parodic. His verse seldom deserts the controlled, urbane tone which is its dominant voice. It has been published in News of the Phoenix (1943), A Sort of Ecstasy (1954), Collected Poems (1962), Poems New and Collected (1967), and The Classic Shade (1978), with each new volume subsuming and polishing poems from earlier collections.

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