The Canadian Art Database

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The Canadian Art Database

One Zero Zero     A Virtual Library of English Canadian Small Press 1945 - 2044

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Louis Dudek (1918-2001)

One of the linch-pins of Canadian modernism, Louis Dudek was born and raised in Montreal's east end, the progeny of Polish immigrants. After graduating from McGill University in 1940 he worked in both advertising and journalism. Between 1943 and 1951 he lived in New York City, where he pursued graduate studies in journalism and history before switching to literature at Columbia University and eventually teaching English at City College of New York. His acquaintance in that city included Paul Blackburn (translator of the Provencal Troubadours), Cid Corman (editor of the seminal Origin magazine) and novelist Herbert Gold. He also began a correspondence with Ezra Pound.

      Before moving to New York he associated with Irving Layton and John Sutherland at First Statement as a contributing editor to the periodical and a consultant to the book publisher. Under the influence of Pound and Corman he was instrumental in encouraging younger Canadian writers to seize the means of production in publishing and, by example, setting the stage for the small press movement of the 1960s and 70s. As a founder of Contact Press in 1952 he contributed to a decade and a half of concerted literary publishing without commercial compromise. As an editor/publisher of Delta Canada, he underlined his commitment to the local in his promotion of the younger writers emerging in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada.

      Dudek's poetry collections include East of the city (1946), Twenty-four poems (1952), The searching image (1952), Europe (1955), The transparent sea (1956), En Mexico (1958), Laughing stalks (1958), Atlantis (1967), Cross-section (1980) and Continuation (1981).