In the 1960s he entered into a prolific and distinguished period in his writing, the highlight of which was the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD for The Colour of the Times (1964). In 1967 he received the Centennial Medal, and from 1967-72 served as president of the LEAGUE OF CANADIAN POETS, which he had been instrumental in founding. He published volumes of new poetry in each decade of his writing life, including Hanging In (1979), which won the 1980 Toronto Book Award, and 2006's Uptown Downtown, which was nominated for the same award. He embarked, as well, on the reworking of some of his earlier poetry with a view to republication, leading up to his multi-volume Collected Poems, which began to appear in 1980, confirming his colloquial voice, the low-strung, city-bred images and the modest nostalgias of a middle-class vision. Souster also tried his hand at fiction, publishing The Winter of Time (1949) and On Target (1972) under the pseudonyms of Raymond Holmes and John Holmes respectively.
Souster brought several young poets, such as Margaret ATWOOD and Michael ONDAATJE, to Contact Press, and gave an important boost to the new poetry with New Wave Canada: The New Explosion in Canadian Poetry (1966). As a model, publisher and mentor whose writing career spanned seven decades, he influenced and was respected by generations of poets.
Raymond Souster was named an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA in 1995, and in January 2012 the League of Canadian Poets established an annual prize in his name.
Author MICHAEL GNAROWSKI
Links to Other Sites
Raymond Souster, Toronto poet, dies at 91
A CBC News obituary for Raymond Souster, co-founder of Contact Press and early publisher of authors Atwood, Ondaatje, and Bowering.
A brief profile of esteemed poet Raymond Souster, the first President of the League of Canadian Poets. From poets.ca.
Read selected poems by acclaimed Canadian poet Raymond Souster. From Representative Poetry Online (RPO).
The wonderful enigma of Raymond Souster
See Robert Fulford's article on Raymond Souster, who is described as "a connector of Canadian literature, pulling together disparate poets, helping them know each other and meet their tiny audience." From robertfulford.com. by
Read Raymond Souster's poem "Lagoons, Hanlan’s Point." From the "Poetry In Voice" website.