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Henry Beissel

Henry Beissel

Photo: Arlette Francière

Henry Beissel is a writer and editor who has published 16 volumes of poetry; 6 books of plays; translations of works by Bauer, Huchel, Ibsen, Mrozek, Neruda, and Dorst; a non-fiction book on Canada; 2 anthologies of plays for High Schools; as well as numerous essays and short fiction. He first came to national attention with the controversial literary/political journal Edge (Edmonton, 1963 – Montreal 1969). F.R.Scott wrote that "Beissel finds [a] constant source of strength and renewal in the wonder of our northland... His epic (Cantos North) is the first to see it in its entirety, as a matrix which binds the whole together in a national mythology." Beissel's internationally successful Inuk and the Sun ("a mythic masterpiece", Sherrill Grace) premiered at the Stratford Festival in 1973. The Chicago theatre critic found it "as beautiful and magnificent as Homer". Beissel retired in 1996 as Distinguished Emeritus Professor of English from Concordia University, Montreal. He lives with his wife, the painter and translator Arlette Francière, in Ottawa and continues to write diversely.



New Wings for Icarus. with lithographs by Norman Yates. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1966.
Cantos North. Moonbeam, Ontario: Penumbra Press, 1982.
Across the Sun's Warp. Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2003.
A Different Sun. poems by Walter Bauer translated from the German. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1976.
Coming to Terms with a Child. Black Moss, 2011
Seasons of Blood. BuschekBooks, 2011
Inuk and the Sun (play) - bilingual edition with French translation by Arlette Franciere. Playwrights Press, 2000
Seasons of Blood. BuschekBooks, 2011


Beissel has received several awards: the first was the Norma Epstein Award for Creative Writing in 1958 at UofT, the last the Walter-Bauer Literaturpreis, Merseburg (Germany), 1994.
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Length:
1 - 2 hours
poetry & drama
Audience Size:
any size