Ralph Gustafson Collection

Welcome to the home of the Ralph Gustafson Electronic Literary Papers at the University of Saskatchewan. The Gustafson fonds found its way to the University of Saskatchewan in the 1960s and includes eight boxes, or a meter of textual material. The Gustafson collection includes five boxes of correspondence, including many with some of Canada's leading literary figures from the 1930s to the 1960s. The collection also houses manuscripts, proofs, and published first editions of some of Gustafson's well-known publications. There are also newspaper clippings and reviews.

This online collection is designed to allow both researchers and casual readers interested in Ralph Gustafson to get a taste of some of the what the collection has to offer. The Ralph Gustafson collection will be available for anyone to view in person at the University Archives & Special Collections - please contact ua.sc@usask.ca for assistance.


Ralph Gustafson (1909-1995) was born in Lime Ridge, Quebec, but grew up in Sherbrook. He attended Bishop's University, earning a double honours B.A. in English and History in 1929, winning the Governor General's Medal and placing top in his class. He received an M.A. in 1930, successfully defending his thesis "The Sensuous Imagery of Shelley and Keats." He also completed a B.A. at Keble College, Oxford in 1933, an M.A. in 1963, and was awarded a D. Litt. from Mount Allison in 1973, a D.C.L. from Bishop's University in 1977, and a D. Litt from York University in 1991.

After his B.A. from Oxford, Gustafson moved to New York, where he stayed for many years and become friends with many of the members of the literary scene there, including Auden, Cummings and W.C. Williams. Gustafson's anthologies kept in clued into the Canadian literary scene and also kept him in contact with most major poets post WWII (there are several letters between Gustafson and many major Canadian writers in our collection).

Over the years, Dr. Gustafson held a number of posts. He was music master, Bishop's College School, 1920-30; teacher of English St. Alban's School for Boys, Brockville, Ontario, 1933-34; tutor and journalist, London, England, 1935-38; British Information Services, New York, N.Y., 1942-46; Professor and Poet-In-Residence, Bishop's University, 1963-79 and music critic, C.B.C., starting in 1960. Winner of numerous awards, including the Order of Canada in 1992 and the Governor General's Award for Poetry (for Fire on Stone, 1974), Dr. Gustafson wrote over twenty volumes of poetry and prose and edited several anthologies of verse. He died in 1995.

His views on poetry are documented in essays collected in Plummets and Other Partialities (1986), and in letters to W.W.E. Ross published as A Literary Friendship in 1984. He also was in contact with many other literary and culturally significant people.

Notable Works:

* The Golden Chalice (London: Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1935)
* Alfred the Great (London: Michael Joseph, 1937)
* Epithalamium in Time of War (New York: L. F. White, 1941)
* Lyrics Unromantic (New York: Privately printed, 1942)
* Flight into Darkness: Poems (New York: Pantheon, 1944)
* Quebec, Late Autumn (Offprint from Queen's Quarterly, 1950)
* Quebec Winter Scene (Offprint from Dalhousie Review, 1952)
* Hard Litany (Offprint from the Dalhousie Review, 1953)
* Rivers Among Rocks (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1960)
* Rocky Mountain Poems (Vancouver: Klanak, 1960)
* Sift in an Hourglass (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1966)
* Ixion's Wheel: Poems (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1969)
* Selected Poems (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972)
* Theme and Variations for Sounding Brass (Sherbrooke, P.Q.: Progressive Publications, 1972)
* Fire on Stone (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974)
* Corners in the Glass (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977)
* Soviet Poems: Sept. 13 to Oct. 5, 1976 (Winnipeg: Turnstone, 1978)
* Gradations of Grandeur: a Poem (Victoria: Sono Nis, 1979)
* Sequences: Poems (Windsor, Ont.: Black Moss, 1979)
* Landscape with Rain (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1980)
* Nine Poems (Toronto: League of Canadian Poets, 1980)
* The Remarkable Heavens (Lantzville, B.C.: Oolichan Books, 1980)
* Conflicts of Spring (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1981)
* Dentelle / Indented: Poems (Trans. Roland Sutherland, et al. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Colorado College Press, 1982)
* The Moment is All: Selected Poems, 1944-83 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1983)
* Solidarnosc: Prelude (Sherbrooke, Que.: Progressive Publications, 1983)
* At the Ocean's Verge: Selected Poems (Ed. John Walsh. Literary Series. Redding Ridge, Conn.: Black Swan, 1984)
* Directives of Autumn (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1984)
* Impromptus (Lantzville, B.C.: Oolichan Books, 1984)
* Twelve Landscapes (Toronto: Shaw Street, 1985)
* Manipulations on Greek Themes: Poems (Toronto: Ascham, 1986)
* Collected Poems (Victoria, B.C.: Sono Nis, 1987)
* Winter Prophecies (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987)
* The Celestial Corkscrew and Other Strategies (Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic, 1989)
* Shadows in the Grass: Poems (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1991)
* Configurations at Midnight (Toronto: ECW, 1992)
* Collected Poems Vol. 3 (Victoria, B.C.: Sono Nis, 1994)
* Tracks in the Snow (Lantzville, B.C.: Oolichan, 1994)
* Visions Fugitive (Montreal: Vehicule, 1996)

- Adapted from Wikipedia and Ralph Gustafson and His Works by Dermot McCarthy.
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