Waddington, Miriam

Miriam Waddington, née Dworkin, poet, essayist (b at Winnipeg, Man 3 Dec 1917; d at Vancouver 3 Mar 2004). Born to Russian-Jewish immigrants, she was raised in Winnipeg and Ottawa and attended the Universities of Toronto (BA 1939; MA 1968) and Pennsylvania (MSW 1945). She moved to Montréal in 1945 and worked as a caseworker and teacher of social work throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and was professor of English at York University from 1964 until her retirement in 1983.

Her first works, Green World (1945) and The Second Silence (1955), are series of lyrics that celebrate the natural world as an antidote to the fragmentation and ugliness of the modern city. She also concentrates on the city life of Montréal and on her experiences as a social worker in The Season's Lovers (1958), which concludes with a section of varied poems on love. In The Glass Trumpet (1966), her poetry shifts into a short, lightly punctuated line and simpler language, reflecting the rhythms of the speaking voice. The poems explore her Winnipeg and prairie childhood, while Say Yes (1969) broadens her subject matter to include Europe and the Mideast. The Price of Gold (1972), Mister Never (1978) and The Visitants (1981) reflect on love, aging and death, and the poet's literal and emotional travels, with clarity and precision.

Waddington has also written a volume of fiction, Summer at Lonely Beach and Other Stories (1982), a critical study of A.M. KLEIN (1970), and numerous essays and reviews; and edited John Sutherland: Essays, Controversies and Poems (1972), Klein's Collected Poems (1974) and Canadian Jewish Short Stories (1990). In Apartment Seven: Essays New and Selected (1989), she examines the nature of poetry as the supreme synthesis and amalgam of all the resources of language. In all her poems Waddington strove for a directness and simplicity of expression. The Last Landscape (1992) was her most recent collection of poems.