Beissel henry cantosnorth

Henry Beissel. Courtesy Penumbra Press.

Henry Eric Beissel (born 12 April 1929) is a German-born Canadian poet, playwright, and academic. He has published 16 volumes of poetry, 6 books of plays, a non-fiction book on Canada, 2 anthologies of plays intended for use in high schools, and numerous essays and pieces of short fiction. [1][2]


Beissel was born in Cologne, Germany.

Beissel had a long teaching career in English Literature, and later in Creative Writing, which started as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Toronto. He taught at the University of Munich (1960-62)), the University of Alberta (1962-64), and Concordia University (1966-96), from which he retired as Distinguished Emeritus Professor of English.[3]

He first came to national attention with the controversial literary/political journal Edge (Edmonton 1963 - Montreal 1969). [4]

Beissel's internationally successful Inuk and the Sun ("a mythic masterpiece", Sherrill Grace) premiered at the Stratford Festival of Canada in 1973. This was followed by a U.S. premiere in 1977 at The Other Theatre in Chicago's Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center with a musical score by Douglas L Lieberman. The Other Theatre also commissioned Under Coyote's Eye and performed it at the Field Museum of Natural History. Beissel's work has been translated into many languages.

He lives with his wife, Arlette Francière, in Ottawa.[5]


Beissel has received many awards, from the Norma Epstein Award for Creative Writing in 1958 at University of Toronto, to the Walter-Bauer Literaturpreis, awarded to him in Merseburg Germany in 1994.



  • New Wings for Icarus: A poem in four parts. Toronto: Coach House, 1966.
  • Face on the Dark: Poems. Toronto: New Press, 1970.
  • The Salt I Taste: Poems. Montreal: DC Books, 1975.
  • Cantos North: A poem (illustrated by Friedhelm Lach). Alexandria, ON: Ayorama Editions, 1980; Moonbeam, ON: Penumbra, 1982.
  • Season of Blood: A suite of poems. Oakville, ON, & New York: Mosaic, 1984.
  • Ammonite: A meditation in several modes. Alexandria, ON: Ayorama Editions, [1987?]
  • Poems: New and selected. Oakville, ON, & New York: Mosaic Press, 1987.
  • Stones to Harvest: A suite of poems. Alexandria, ON: Ayorama Publications, 1991.
  • Dying I was Born. Waterloo, ON: Penumbra, 1992.
  • Stones to Harvest. Goderich, ON: Moonstone, 1993.
  • The Dragon and the Pearl: Poems. Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2002.
  • Across the Sun's Warp: A poem. Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2003.
  • Seasons of Blood. Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2011.
  • Coming to Terms with a Child. Windsor, ON: Black Moss, 2011.
  • Fugitive Horizons. Toronto, Buffalo, NY, & Lancaster, UK: Guernica, 2013.


  • Under Coyote's Eyes: A play about Isshi. Dunvegan, ON: Quadrant Editions, 1980.
  • Inook and the Sun. Toronto: Toronto Playwrights Co-op 1974.
    • also published as Inuk: A play. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2001.
  • Goya: A play. Toronto: Toronto Playwrights Co-op, 1977.
  • The Noose, and Improvisations for Mister X: Two plays. Dunvegan, ON: Cormorant, 1989.


  • Kanada. Romantik und Wirklichkeit (with photographs by Janis Kraulis). Innsbruck, Austria: Pinguin Verlag, 1981.


  • Walter Bauer, The Price of Morning. Vancouver: Prism, 1968.
  • Walter Bauer, A Different Sun. Ottawa: Oberon, 1976.
  • Tankred Dorst, Three Plays. Toronto: Toronto Playwrights Co-op, 1976.
  • Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler. Toronto: Toronto Playwrights Co-op, 1982.


  • Cues and Entrances: Ten Canadian one-act plays. Toronto: Gage, 1977.
  • Raging Like a Fire: A celebration of Irving Layton (edited with Joy Bennett). Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1993.
Henry Beissel at Carleton part1

Henry Beissel at Carleton part1

Henry Beissel - Poetry Reading 2013 at Marburg University (Part 1)

Henry Beissel - Poetry Reading 2013 at Marburg University (Part 1)

Henry Beissel - Poetry Reading 2013 at Marburg University (Part 2)

Henry Beissel - Poetry Reading 2013 at Marburg University (Part 2)

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[6]


  • The Curve, University of Alberta, 1963
  • A Trumpet For Nap, Little Angel Theatre, London, England. 1970
  • Are You Afraid of Thieves?, Universite du Quebec, 1973, La Troupe Brin'si
  • Inook And The Sun, The Stratford Festival, Canada, 1973
  • For Crying Out Loud, Char-Lan Theatre Workshop, Williamstown, Ontario. 1975
  • Goya, Montreal Theatre Lab, 1976
  • Under Coyote's Eye, Other Theatre, Chicago, 1978
  • The Emigrants, Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal. 1981
  • Hedda Gabler, Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal. 1982 (translation)
  • The Noose, University of Winnipeg, 1985
  • The Glass Mountain, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba. 1990 [7]

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