Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground contains thirty-five of F. R. Scott’s poems from across the five decades of his career. Scott’s artistic responses to a litany of social problems, as well as his emphasis on nature and landscapes, remain remarkably relevant. Scott weighed in on many issues important to Canadians today, using different terms, perhaps, but with no less urgency than we feel now: biopolitics, neoliberalism, environmental concerns, genetic modification, freedom of speech, civil rights, human rights, and immigration. Scott is best remembered for “The Canadian Authors Meet,” “W. L.M. K,” and “Laurentian Shield,” but his poetic oeuvre includes significant occasional poems, elegies, found poems, and pointed satires. This selection of poems showcases the politics, the humour, and the beauty of this central modernist figure.
The introduction by Laura Moss and the afterword by George Elliott Clarke provide two distinct approaches to reading Scott’s work: in the contexts of Canadian modernism and of contemporary literary history, respectively.
``Scott's poetry humbly argues for a place on our shelves for a Canadian political poetry that is large enough to avoid the petty debate on specifics, yet particular enough not to lose local force. ''- Andrew Vaisius, Prairie Fire Review of Books, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2012
``Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground is a fine pick for any world poetry collection, much recommended. ''- Midwest Bookwatch, The Poetry Shelf, December 2011
``With Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground, the Laurier Poetry series certainly seems to have fulfilled its mandate. There is the hope that more readers will encounter F. R. Scott, an artist who gives a poetic voice to political concerns that are evermore relevant, and who, when he's at his best, writes the kind of poetry you'd like to memorize. ''- Vanessa Bonneau, Montreal Review of Books, May 7, 2012