Coming Soon: An Unfinished War


Coming Soon: An Unfinished War: War of 1812 Poetry and Prose edited by John B. Lee

The War of 1812 as it occurred in the western districts of Upper Canada represents the most violent conflict ever fought on North American soil prior to the American civil war. Published on the 200th anniversary of the invasion of Canada, Black Moss Press’ anthology An Unfinished War, edited by Canada’s foremost anthologist John B. Lee, brings together the best literature from the past along with new work by major Canadian writers. Beginning with a poem written in 1811 by John Strachan, “the fighting bishop of York,” and including many fine excerpts from boy soldier Major John Richardson’s novel, The Canadian Brothers, Lee’s selections also include new work by elder statesman of Canadian poetry, Raymond Souster, Governor General’s Award winner Douglas Glover, and many more. Griffin Poetry prize winning poet, Margaret Avison’s poem “The Valiant Vacationist,” Barrie Poet Laureate Bruce Meyer’s poem, “Victoria Square,” and John B. Lee’s poem, “Old Ironsides, Boston,” all remind us of our present day relationship with events, places and artifacts of great historical significance. As we commemorate the anniversary of this long ago war, and as we struggle to honour the past, the literature gathered together in this important and fascinating anthology reminds us of truth of Nobel Laureate William Faulkner’s words, “The past is never dead. It’s not even the past.” From the Battle of Tippecanoe to the Battle of New Orleans, from the death of Tecumseh to the Ancaster Bloody Assize, from the surrender of Fort Detroit to the burning of York, from Billy Green, hero of the Battle of Stoney Creek to Swain Corliss, hero of Malcolm’s Mills, these pieces bring to life the lives of both real and fictional heroes of a long ago though unforgotten war. For his part, Wallace Stegner, in an excerpt from his short story, “The Medicine Line,” puts it this way: “…It used to antagonize me, wondering whether or not the Canadians really did defeat the Americans at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane during the War of 1812. …The importance of the battle depended entirely on which side of the frontier you viewed it from.”

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