Birney, Earle

▪ 1996

      Canadian poet and writer (b. May 13, 1904, Calgary, Alta.—d. Sept. 3, 1995, Toronto, Ont.), was one of the most highly esteemed poets in Canada. He was especially well-known for his controversial poem "David" (1941), about the mercy killing of a young mountain climber badly injured in a fall. It was included in most Canadian high-school literature studies and was featured in David, and Other Poems (1942), which earned (1943) Birney the first of two Governor-General's awards. The second, in 1946, was for Now Is Time (1945). Birney earned a B.A. (1926) from the University of British Columbia and an M.A. (1927) and a Ph.D. (1936) from the University of Toronto. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley (1927-30), the University of Utah (1930-34), and the University of Toronto (1936-42), and from 1936 to 1940 he was literary editor of Canadian Forum, which showcased works of newly discovered young poets. His experiences while serving in the army during World War II provided material for one of his novels, Turvey (1949), for which he won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. After the war Birney worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for a short time before returning (1946) to academe, at the University of British Columbia. From 1965 to 1984 he taught at a number of campuses in Canada and the U.S. In the late 1950s he began giving lectures and readings all over the world. His travels influenced his poetry, in which he adopted the viewpoint of a stranger in the observation of cultures. His poems were published in at least 15 languages. Birney also wrote verse plays, radio plays, short stories, and essays on literary criticism. His poetry collections include Selected Poems, 1940-1966 (1966), The Collected Poems of Earle Birney (1975), Ghost in the Wheels (1977), Copernican Fix (1985), and Last Makings (1991).

* * *

▪ Canadian writer and educator
in full  Alfred Earl Birney  
born May 13, 1904, Calgary, Alta., Northwest Territories [Can.]
died Sept. 3, 1995, Toronto, Ont.

      Canadian writer and educator whose contributions to Canadian letters—especially to poetry—reveal a deep and abiding love of language.

      Birney received a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto (1936). His first collection of poetry, David and Other Poems (1942), was published during his tenure at the University of Toronto (1936–42). He enlisted for active duty in the Canadian army and served from 1942 to 1945. He taught English at the University of British Columbia (1946–62) and held a number of teaching and editorial positions thereafter.

      Birney's other verse collections include Now Is Time (1945), The Strait of Anian (1948), and Near False Creek Mouth (1964). Most of his later poems are experimental. His verse drama, Trial of a City (1952; later revised as a stage play, The Damnation of Vancouver, 1977), is an indictment of modern Vancouver by heroes from Vancouver's past. Birney also wrote two novels: Turvey (1949), a picaresque novel of World War II, and Down the Long Table (1955), which is semiautobiographical. Also an essayist and critic, he edited Twentieth-Century Canadian Poetry (1953). His Collected Poems appeared in 1975. Birney's later works include the poetry collections Ghost in the Wheels (1977), The Mammoth Corridors (1980), Copernican Fix (1985), and Last Makings (1991), as well as several radio plays.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Earle Birney — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Birney. Earle Alfred Birney, (13 mai 1904 à Calgary 3 septembre 1995 (à 91 ans) à Toronto) est un écrivain humoristique et un grand poète canadien. Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Birney (disambiguation) — Birney may refer to: *a birney, i.e. a once popular small streetcar *Birney, Montana *Earle Birney (May 13, 1904 September 3, 1995), Canadian poet *James G. Birney (February 4, 1792 November 25, 1857), minor party candidate for U.S. President… …   Wikipedia

  • Earle (given name) — Earle is a given name, and may refer to:People from Canada: * Earle Birney (1904 ndash;1995), Canadian poet; recipient of the Governor General s Award for LiteraturePeople from Australia: * Earle Page (1880 ndash;1961), Eleventh Prime Minister of …   Wikipedia

  • Earle Birney — bushedEarle Alfred Birney, OC , Ph.D , FRSC (13 May 1904 ndash; 3 September 1995) was a distinguished Canadian poet. He was twice winner of the Governor General s Award for Literature (for David and Other Poems , 1942, and for Now Is Time , 1945) …   Wikipedia

  • Birney —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. David Birney (1939 ), acteur américain ; David B. Birney (1825–1864), juriste et général américain ; Earle Birney (1904 1995),… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Earle — (as used in expressions) Birney Alfred Earle Stegner Wallace Earle Bulwer Sir William Henry Lytton Earle * * * …   Universalium

  • Earle — (as used in expressions) Birney, (Alfred) Earle Bulwer, Sir (William) Henry Lytton (Earle) Stegner, Wallace (Earle) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Birney, (Alfred) Earle — born May 13, 1904, Calgary, Alta., Northwest Territories [Canada] died Sept. 3, 1995, Toronto, Ont. Canadian poet and educator. Birney received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and brought out his first collection of poetry, David (1942,… …   Universalium

  • Birney, (Alfred) Earle — (13 may. 1904, Calgary, Alberta, Territorios Noroccidentales, Canadá–3 sep. 1995, Toronto, Ontario). Poeta y educador canadiense. Birney obtuvo un Ph.D. en la Universidad de Toronto y publicó su primer libro de poesía, David (1942, Premio del… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Thomas Earle — (April 21 1796 ndash; July 14 1849) was an American journalist, lawyer, and politician. The son of Pliny Earle, he was born in Leicester, Massachusetts. He was educated at Leicester academy. In 1817 he moved to Philadelphia, where he engaged in… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.