Smith, Arthur James Marshall

Arthur James Marshall Smith, poet, critic, anthologist (b at Montréal 8 Nov 1902; d at East Lansing, Mich 21 Nov 1980). A.J.M. Smith was educated at McGill University and the University of Edinburgh. In 1925, while a graduate student in Montréal, he founded and edited the McGill Fortnightly Review with F.R. SCOTT, the first journal to publish modernist poetry and critical opinion in Canada. This began a period of significant activities amid the staid provincialism of contemporary Canadian letters. In 1936 he co-edited New Provinces, followed in 1943 by publication of both Smith's own first collection, News of the Phoenix (Governor General's Award) and A Book of Canadian Poetry, in which he distinguished a separate national voice. He continued to edit numerous anthologies and produce his own poetry and, in 1973, published a collection of critical essays, Towards a View of Canadian Letters. Early in his career Smith moved to Lansing, Mich, to teach at Michigan State University, although he spent most of his summers near Magog, Qué. In 1966 the RSC awarded him the Lorne Pierce Medal. In 1972 Smith retired and the university created the A.J.M. Smith Award, given annually for a noteworthy volume by a Canadian poet.