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From Cohen to Carson: The Poet’s Novel in Canada

From Cohen to Carson provides the first book-length analysis of one of Canada’s most distinctive fields of literary production. Ian Rae argues that Canadian poets have turned to the novel because of the limitations of the lyric, but have used lyric methods, such as puns, symbolism, repetition and juxtaposition, to create a mode of narrative that contrasts sharply with the descriptive conventions of realist and plot-driven novels. rnrnDetailed case studies of novels by Leonard Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, George Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, and Anne Carson, as well as sections on A.M. Klein and Anne Michaels, reveal how these authors framed their early novels according to formal precedents established in their poetry. In tracking the authors’ shift from lyric to long poem to novel, Rae also investigates their experiments with non-literary art forms, such as photography, painting and film. The authors discussed combine disparate genres and media to alter notions of narrative coherence in the novel and engage the diverse but fragmented cultural histories of Canadian society.

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