Szumigalski, Anne

Anne Szumigalski, poet (b at London, Eng 3 Jan 1922; d at Saskatoon 22 Apr 1999). Raised in rural Hampshire, she served as an interpreter with the Red Cross during World War II, and in 1951 immigrated with her husband and family to Canada. A translator, editor, playwright, teacher and poet, she was instrumental in founding the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild and the literary magazine Grain. She wrote or co-wrote 14 books, mostly poetry, including Woman Reading in a Bath (1974) and A Game of Angels (1980).

Her poetry explores the world of the imagination, a fantastic landscape that stretches between and beyond birth and death and is characterized by the simultaneous concreteness and illogic nature of dreams. She also explores the formal possibilities of the prose poem in several volumes, including Doctrine of Signatures (1983), Instar (1985) and Rapture of the Deep (1991). Because of its appearance on the page, the prose poem is freed from some of the conventions and expectations of the lyric poem, lending itself well to the dreamlike juxtapositions and leaps central to Szumigalski's work.

She also wrote her autobiography, The Voice, the Word, the Text (1990) and a play about the Holocaust, Z. Voice (1995), a collection of poems featuring paintings by Marie Elyse St George, won the Governor General's Award. On Glassy Wings: Poems New and Selected (1997) provides a good overview of Szumigalski's poetry.