by George J. Dance

George Bowering

George Bowering. Courtesy Talonbooks.

George Harry Bowering, OC, OBC (born December 1, 1935) is a prolific Canadian poet novelist, historian, and biographer. He served as Canada's 1st Parliamentary Poet Laureate.


Youth and educationEdit

Bowering was born in Penticton, British Columbia (B.C.), to Pearl (Brinson) and Ewart Bowering.[1] He grew up in the nearby town of Oliver, where his father was a high-school chemistry teacher.

George was educated at Victoria College in Victoria, B.C., the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the University of Western Ontario (UWO).[1] At UBC he became part of a group of young poets that also included Frank Davey, Fred Wah, Jamie Reid, and David Dawson. Influenced by the poetics of the Black Mountain school, the 5 young poets began a mimeographed literary magazine, TISH, in 1961.[2]

Bowering earned an M.A. from UBC in 1963.[1]


Bowering taught at the University of Calgary, 1963-1966; Sir George Williams University, 1968-1971; and Simon Fraser University for 30 years, 1972-2001; with short terms at Rome, Berlin and Aarhus.[1]

He founded Imago magazine in 1964, and edited it until 1974. He was also a contibuting editor to Open Letter.[2]

Bowering is the author of more than 100 books.[3] He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University.


Bowering won the Governor General's Award for poetry in 1969 for 2 collections, Rocky Mountain Foot and The Gangs of Kosmos.[4]

He won the Governor General's Award for fiction in 1980 for his novel, Burning Water.[4]

He won the Nichol Chapbook Award for Poetry in both 1991 and 1992, and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry in 1993.[1]

He was awarded the honorary degree of D.Litt. by UBC in 1994, and by UWO in 2003.[1]

In 2002, Bowering was appointed as Canada's inaugural Parliamentary Poet Laureate, serving for 2 years. Also in 2002, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[1]

He was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2004, and the Lieutenant-Governors Award for Literary Excellence in 2001.[3]



Long poemsEdit

  • Sitting in Mexico. Calgary, AB: Beaver Kosmos, 1965.
  • Baseball. Toronto: Coach House, 1967.
  • George. Vancouver: Kitchener / Weed/Flower, 1970.
  • Geneve. Toronto: Coach House, 1971.
  • Autobiology. Vancouver: New Star, 1972.
  • Curious. Toronto: Coach House, 1973.
  • At War With the U.S.. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1974.
  • Allophanes. Toronto: Coach House, 1976.
  • Ear Reach. Vancouver: Alcuin, 1982,
  • Kerrisdale Elegies: Toronto, Coach House, 1984.
  • His Life: a poem. Toronto: ECW Press, 2000.
  • Baseball: A poem in the magic number 9. Toronto: Coach House, 2003


  • Sticks & Stones. Vancouver: Tishbooks, 1963.
  • Points on the Grid. Toronto: Contact Press, 1964.
  • The Man in Yellow Boots/ El hombre de las botas amarillas. Mexico, Ediciones El Corno, 1965.
  • The Silver Wire. Kingston, ON: Quarry Press, 1966.
  • Rocky Mountain Foot. Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1969.
  • The Gangs of Kosmos, Toronto, Anansi, 1969.
  • Touch: selected poems 1960-1969. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1971.
  • In the Flesh. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1974.
  • The Catch. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1976.
  • Poem & other baseballs. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1976.
  • The Concrete Island. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1977.
  • Another Mouth. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1979.
  • Particular Accidents: selected poems. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1981.
  • West Window: selected poetry. Toronto: General, 1982.
  • Smoking Mirror. Edmonton: Longspoon, 1982.
  • Seventy-One Poems for People. Red Deer, AB: Red Deer College Press, 1985.
  • Delayed Mercy & other poems. Toronto: Coach House, 1986.
  • Sticks & Stones. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1989.
  • Urban Snow. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1992.
  • George Bowering Selected: Poems, 1961-1992. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1993.
  • Blonds on Bikes, Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1997.


  • How I Hear Howl. Montreal: Beaver Kosmos, 1967.
  • Two Police Poems. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1969.
  • The Sensible. Toronto: Massasauga, 1972.
  • Layers 1-13. Kitchener: Weed/Flower, 1973.
  • In Answer. Vancouver: William Hoffer, 1977.
  • Uncle Louis. Toronto: Coach House, 1980.
  • Spencer & Groulx., Vancouver: William Hoffer, 1985.
  • Quarters. Prince George, BC: Gorse Press, 1991.
  • Do Sink. Vancouver: Pomflit, 1992.
  • Sweetly. Vancouver: Wuz, 1992.
  • Blondes on Bikes. Ottawa: above/ground, 1997.
  • A, You're Adorable. Ottawa: above/ground, 1998.
  • 6 Little Poems in Alphabetical Order. Calgary: House Press, 2000.
  • Some Writers. Calgary: House Press, 2001.
  • Joining the Lost Generation. Calgary: House Press, 2002.


  • The Home for Heroes. Vancouver: Prism, 1962.
  • What Does Eddie Williams Want?. Montreal: CBC-TV, 1966.
  • George Vancouver. Vancouver: CBC radio network, 1972.
  • Sitting in Mexico. Vancouver: CBC radio network, 1973.
  • Music in the Park. Vancouver: CBC radio network, 1986.
  • The Great Grandchildren of Bill Bissett's Mice'. Vancouver: CBC radio network, 1989.


  • Mirror on the Floor. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1967.
  • A Short Sad Book. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1977.
  • Burning Water, Toronto, New York: General, 1980, 1983.
    • Penguin, 1994.
  • Caprice. Toronto & New York: Viking / Penguin, 1987, 1988.
    • 2nd edition, 1994.
  • Harry's Fragments. Toronto: Coach House, 1990.
  • Shoot!. Toronto: Key Porter, 1994. New York: St. Martin's, 1966.
  • Parents From Space. Montreal: Roussan, 1994.
    • Toronto, Scholastic, 1996.
  • Piccolo Mondo. Toronto: Coach House, 1998 (collaboration).
  • Diamondback Dog. Montreal: Roussan, 1998.

Short fictionEdit

  • Flycatcher & other stories. Ottawa: Oberon, 1974.
  • Concentric Circles. Windsor, ON: Black Moss, 1977.
  • Protective Footwear. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1978.
  • A Place to Die. Ottawa: Oberon, 1983.
  • The Rain Barrel. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1994.
  • Standing on Richards. Viking Canada, 2004.



  • Al Purdy. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1970.
  • Three Vancouver Writers. Toronto: Open Letter/Coach House, 1979.
  • A Way With Words. Ottawa: Oberon, 1982.
  • The Mask in Place., Winnipeg, Turnstone Press, 1983.
  • Craft Slices. Ottawa: Oberon, 1985.
  • Errata. Red Deer, AB: Red Deer College Press, 1988.
  • Imaginary Hand. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1988.


  • The Moustache: remembering Greg Curnoe. Toronto: Coach House, 1993.
  • Cars. Toronto: Coach House, 2002.
  • A Magpie Life. Toronto: Key Porter, 2001.


  • Bowering's B.C.. Toronto: Viking, 1996. Toronto: Penguin, 1997.
  • Egotists and Autocrats. Toronto: Viking, 1999; Toronto, Penguin, 2000.
  • Stone Country. Penguin Canada, 2003.


  • The 1962 Poems of R.S. Lane. Toronto: Ganglia Press, 1965.
  • Vibrations: poems of youth. Toronto: Gage, 1970.
  • The Story so Far. Toronto: Coach House, 1972.
  • Imago Twenty. Vancouver: Talon, 1974.
  • Artie Gold, Cityflowers. Montreal: Delta Canada, 1974.
  • Letters from Geeksville: Letters from Red Lane, 1960-64. Prince George, BC: Caledonia Writing Series, 1976.
  • Great Canadian Sports Stories. Ottawa: Oberon, 1979.
  • Fiction of Contemporary Canada. Toronto: Coach House, 1980.
  • Fred Wah, Loki is Buried at Smoky Creek: Selected poems. Vancouver: Talon,1981.
  • David McFadden, My Body was Eaten by Dogs: Selected poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart; New York: CrossCountry, 1981.
  • "1945-1980," in Introduction to Poetry: British, American, Canadian (by David and Lecker). Toronto: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981.
  • The Contemporary Canadian Poem Anthology. Toronto: Coach House, 1983.
  • Sheila Watson and The Double Hook: the artist and her critics. Ottawa: Golden Dog Press, 1984.
  • Taking the Field: the best of baseball fiction. Red Deer: Red Deer College Press, 1990.
  • Likely Stories: a postmodern sampler (with Linda Hutcheon). Toronto: Coach House Press, 1992.
  • BpNichol, An H in the Heart: Selected works (with Michael Ondaatje). Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1994.
  • And Other Stories. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2001.


  • Tish, Vancouver, 1961-63.
  • Imago, Calgary, London, Montreal, Vancouver, 1964-1974.
  • Beaver Kosmos Folios, Calgary, London, Montreal, Vancouver, 1966-75.
George Bowering reading from The World, I Guess

George Bowering reading from The World, I Guess

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy the University of Toronto.[5]

See alsoEdit

Preceded by
Parliamentary Poet Laureate
2002 - 2004
Succeeded by
Pauline Michel
Poet George Bowering reads from Changing on the Fly

Poet George Bowering reads from Changing on the Fly


"a little black strap," by George Bowering

"a little black strap," by George Bowering

  • Roy Miki, A Record of Writing: an annotated and illustrated Bibliography of George Bowering. Vancouver, Talonbooks, 1989, 401 pp.
  • "Essays on Canadian Writing, "George Bowering issue" (edited by Ken Norris), 1989, 127 pp.
  • Eva-Marie Kroller, George Bowering: Bright circles of colour. Vancouver, Talonbooks, 1992, 128 pp.
  • John Harris, George Bowering and His Works. Toronto, ECW Press, 1992, 62 pp.
  • 71 (+) for GB (edited by Jean Baird, David McFadden, & George Stanley). Vancouver/Toronto: Coach House Books, 2005.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 George Bowering, Former Poets Laureate, Parliament of Canada. Mar. 28, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Douglas Barbour, George Bowering, Canadian Encyclopedia, Edmonton, AB: Hurtig, 1988, I, 262. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Douglas Barbour & Daniel Daird, George Bowering, Canadian Encyclopedia, February 7, 2016, Historica Canada. Web, Mar. 29, 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Biography, George Bowering, Canadian Shortlist 2005, Griffin Trust. Web, Mar. 28, 2017.
  5. George Bowering: Publications, Canadian Poetry Online, University of Toronto Libraries,, Web, July 6, 2012.

External links Edit

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