Shaunt Basmajian (September 30, 1950 - January 25, 1990) was a Canadian poet.


             Cartoon by Shaunt Basmajian


Born in Beirut, Lebanon, to Armenian parents, Basmajian emigrated to Canada when he was 7 years old.[1]

He was a founder of the Canadian Poetry Association, co-founder of Old Nun Publications (with Ted Plantos), and a member of the Parliament Street Library poetry group.[1]

In 1986, he was attacked with a knife and robbed while he was driving a taxi. His right lung was punctured when the robber stabbed him. He passed away peacefully in his parents' home on Bayview Avenue in north York one year later.[2]


"I read the paper / and stay awake all night / writing poems / trying to forget everything / dreaming of a new world / a solution / an answer / in the aftermath"

—Shaunt Basmajian, excerpt from "On That Other Day In The Life Of Arto Sarkissian," Poets Who Don't Dance, 1985.


The Shaunt Basmajian Chapbook Award, given annually to a Canadian poet, was established in his memory. The contest ran annually from 1996 to 2008.



  • Spare Change: Poems. Scarborough, ON: HMS Press / Fredericton, NB: New Brunswick Chapbooks, 1972.
  • Surplus Waste, and other poems. Toronto: Unfinished Monument Press, 1982.
  • Success, a Playhouse, and Adults. Toronto: CURVD H&Z, 1982.
  • 8 Irritations. Toronto : CURVD H&Z, 1983.
  • Poets Who Don't Dance. Toronto: Unfinished Monument Press, 1985.
  • Haiku, 1972-1982. Aylmer, QC: Haiku Canada, [1986?]
  • Biased Analogies. Perth, ON: Anthos Books, 1987.


  • Other channels : an anthology of new Canadian poetry (edited with Daniel Jones). Toronto: published by the Associate Members, League of Canadian Poets, 1984.
  • Bfp(h)aGe: An anthology of visual poetry and collage (edited with Brian David Johnston). Toronto, ON: Sober Minute Press, 1989.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

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