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All These Roads

The Poetry of Louis Dudek

By Louis Dudek
Edited by Karis Shearer
Afterword by Frank Davey
Subjects Literary Criticism, Canadian Literature, Poetry
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9781554580392, 80 pages, April 2008
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587858, 80 pages, August 2009


For William Carlos Williams by Louis Dudek

You want your truths told of you—

those wavery lines!

Each pencil mark's a fiddlehead

unfolding to an island of wild fern,

O hell, did you have to do it

now, Bill

when we were just getting

the whiplash of your New Measure, crack

of the words in the sun, over the woman eating

plums, over the burning greens?

When we were getting the hang of it, to your glory,

and bringing the baskets home,

stuff you planted in your Earlier and Later

Collected Poems

praising the world

and talking to the cabman

about “Pound and economics” so many beginnings

Those forceps, stethoscopes (the way to their hearts)

and medical books you could never keep up with

—thrown away, finished?

Isn't it (death) stupid? That all a man is,

those immediate moments

you tried to cling to, should be thought “ephemeral”?

Death is a liar, Bill Williams Don't think for a minute

that we believe him It's all the same

It's as you said, every minute of it, here, now, real and forever.


Table of contents

Table of Contents for
All These Roads: The Poetry of Louis Dudek, selected with an introduction by Karis Shearer

Foreword | Neil Besner

Biographical Note

Introduction | Karis Shearer

On Poetry and Profession

Functional Poetry: A Proposal

Theory of Art

What we Profess


It Is An Art

Hellcats in Heaven (Report on the book Cerberus)

Kingston Conference

Poetry Reading

Line and Form

“Europe” at Sea


Advice to a Young Poet

The Retired Professor

Old Books

Dedications and Intertexts

For E. P.

Kosmos: The Greek World (For Michael Lekakis)

Emily Dickinson

James Reaney’s Dream Inside a Dream, or The Freudian Wish

Irving Layton’s Poem in Early Spring

Rich Man’s Paradise (After F. R. Scott)

Quebec Religious Hospital by A. M. Klein

Carman’s Last Home

Europe Without Baedeker But with Pound

Tar and Feathers

Reply to Envious Arthur

The Progress of Satire (For F. R. Scott and A. J.M. Smith)

The Demolitions (For John Glassco)

A Note for Leonard Cohen

Tao (For F. R.S)

For Ron Everson (After Ezra Pound, and Confucius)



For William Carlos Williams

Long Poems

from Europe (Fragment 95)

from En México

Afterword | by Frank Davey



A passionate believer in the power of art—and especially poetry—to influence and critique contemporary culture, Louis Dudek devoted much of his life to shaping the Canadian literary scene through his meditative and experimental poems as well as his work in publishing and teaching. All These Roads: The Poetry of Louis Dudek brings together thirty-five of Dudek’s poems written over the course of his sixty-year career.

Much of Dudek’s poetry is about the practice of art, with comment on the way the craft of poetry is mediated by such factors as university classes, public readings, reviews, commercial presses, and academic conferences. The poems in this selection—witty satires, short lyrics, and long sequences—reflect self-consciously on the relationship between art and life and will draw readers into the dramatic mid-century literary and cultural debates in which Dudek was an important participant.

Karis Shearer’s introduction provides an overview of Dudek’s prolific career as poet, professor, editor, publisher, and critic, and considers the ways in which Dudek’s functional poems help, both formally and thematically, to carry out the tasks associated with those roles. Comparing Dudek’s reception to that of NourbeSe Philip, Marilyn Dumont, and Roy Miki, Frank Davey’s afterword locates Dudek in a pre-1980s version of multiculturalism that is more complex than many critics would have it. According to Davey, Dudek broadened the limits on the possible range and type of poetry for subsequent generations of Canadian writers.


``The cream of an already excellent crop--All These Road: The Poetry of Louis Dudek picks thirty-five poems from the poet's long and illustrious career as a major literary force in Canada. ''

- The Midwest Book Review, July 2008

``The quest for a wider audience for poetry may be quixotic, but this series makes a serious attempt to present attractive, affordable selections that speak to contemporary interests and topics that might engage a younger generation of readers. Yet it does not condescend, preferring to provide substantial and sophisticated poets to these new readers. At the very least, these slim volumes will make very useful introductory teaching texts in post-secondary classrooms because they whet the appetite without overwhelming. ''

- Paul Milton, Canadian Literature, 193, Summer 2007