by George J. Dance

Roo Borson

Roo Borson. Courtesy Writers' Union of Canada.

Ruth Elizabeth "Roo" Borson (born January 20, 1952) is a Canadian poet.


Borson was born and grew up in Berkeley, California.[1]

She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College, Vermont, in 1973.[2] In 1974 she moved to Vancouver, where she attended the University of British Columbia (UBC).[1] She earned an M.F.A. from UBC in 1977.[2]

She was writer in residence at the University of Western Ontario, 1987-1988, and at Concordia University in 1993.[2]

She lives in Toronto with poet Kim Maltman. With Maltman and Andy Patton she is a member of the collaborative performance poetry ensemble "Pain Not Bread."[2]


In 1998, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass called Borson “one of the best-known Canadian poets of her generation — a clear writer, clear-minded, with a dark and musical imagination."[3]


She received the 2004 Governor General's Award for English language poetry and the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize for Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida.[2]


  • Macmillan Poetry Prize (UBC), 1977
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Prize for Poetry, 1982 and 1989
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Prize for Personal Essay, 1991
  • Governor General's Award Finalist, 1984 and 1994
  • National Magazine Awards Finalist, 1990 and 1993
  • Malahat Review Long Poem Prize (with Kim Maltman and Andy Patton, as "Pain Not Bread"), 1993
  • National Magazine Awards Finalist ("Pain Not Bread"), 1993

Except where noted, award information courtesy University of Toronto[4]

Publications Edit


  • Landfall. Fredericton, NB: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1977.
  • Rain. Moonbeam, ON: Penumbra Press, 1980.
  • Nightwalk. Toronto: Missing Link Press, 1981.
  • In the Smoky Light of the Fields. Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1980.
  • A Sad Device. Dunvegan, ON: Quadrant Editions, 1981.
  • The Whole Night, Coming Home. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1984.
  • The Transparence of November: Snow. Kingston, ON: Quarry Press, 1985.
  • Intent; or, The weight of the world. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1989.
  • Night Walk: Selected poems. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Water Nemory. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1996.
  • Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2004.
  • Rain, Road, an Open Boat. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2012.
  • Box Kite: Prose poems (with Kim Maltman, as "Baziju"). Toronto: Anansi, 2016.
  • Cardinal in the Eastern White Cedar. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2017.


  • Introduction to the Introduction to 'Wang Wei' (by Pain Not Bread). London, ON: Brick Books, 2000.[5]
  • Personal History (essays). Toronto: Pedlar Press, 2008.
Roo Borson at Type Books, Toronto

Roo Borson at Type Books, Toronto

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

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 Colin Boyd, Ruth Elizabeth Borson, Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada, October 6, 2008. Web, Mar. 28, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Roo Borson, Canadian Poetry Online, Univerity of Toronto. Web, Mar. 28, 2017.
  3. "Roo Borson: A lifelong journey toward excellence," Writing and Publishing, Artist Stories, Canada Council for the Arts, Web, June 30, 2012.
  4. Roo Borson: Awards and Honours, Canadian Poetry Online, University of Toronto Libraries,, Web, Mar. 28, 2017.
  5. Roo Borson: Publications, Canadian Poetry Online, University of Toronto Libraries,, Web, June 30, 2012.
  6. Search results = au:Roo Borson, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 10, 2014.

External links Edit

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