Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
E.J. Pratt

E.J. Pratt: Complete Poems

Sandra Djwa
R.G. Moyles
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 517
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    E.J. Pratt
    Book Description:

    This volume of E.J. Pratt's selected poems introduces Pratt's poems to the college and university student, providing the background necessary for an informed reading of the poems. The volume offers a full sampling of Pratt's poems chosen both for their representativeness and for their intrinsic value. Included are the major long poems, The Witches' Brew, The Iron Door, The Titanic, Brébeuf and His Brethren, and Towards the Last Spike, and important shorter lyrics such as 'Newfoundland,' 'Come Away, Death,' and 'From Stone to Steel.' The editorial approach is historical, chronological, and biographical. The introduction locates E.J. Pratt in his Newfoundland and Canadian contexts, and discusses the development of his work in relation to his early modernist contemporaries, concluding that Pratt remains the most important and influential Canadian poet up to the mid-fifties. As such, he has been a key figure in shaping the Canadian literary imagination of his day and the later poetics of landscape adopted by Earle Birney and Margaret Atwood. The editors provide annotations, textual notes, and a biographical chronology. The printed volume is supplemented by the electronic resources of the Selected Pratt website at

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7416-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xlviii)

    E.J. Pratt is widely acknowledged as Canada’s most influential modern poet, yet until now we have lacked a complete text of his poems and much of the biographical and literary background helpful for a full understanding of his work. When Pratt retired from the University of Toronto in the fifties a selection of his poems was generally available; Macmillan in 1944 had published theCollected Poems,basically a selected edition, containing the poems by which he wished to be remembered. This edition was reissued in the United States by Alfred Knopf in 1945 with an introduction by William Rose Benét....

  4. Notes on the Text
    (pp. xlix-lii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. liii-liv)
  6. Biographical Chronology
    (pp. lv-lviii)
  7. A Poem on the May Examinations
    (pp. 3-338)

    The year was just about to close, the Arts’ Exams were on,

    The faces of the students had become so pale and wan,

    The ordeal was upon them; how they wished that it was past!

    For strength was quickly sinking, and the nerves were breaking


    A year of mental strain had gone, its fruit was being gauged

    By quantitative tests; a great array of doctors aged

    In wisdom as in years, were chosen arbiters of Fate –

    Reverend, hoary sages, Heaven-born to educate.

    All preparations were completed, open wide were thrown

    The doors; the old grey tower in solitude from...

  8. Textual Variants and Emendations
    (pp. 339-364)
  9. Annotations
    (pp. 365-404)
    Sandra Djwa, Robert Gibbs and David Savage
  10. Index of First Lines
    (pp. 405-409)
  11. Index of Titles in Parts 1 and 2
    (pp. 410-413)
    (pp. i-viii)
    E.J. PRATT
  13. Silences
    (pp. 3-252)

    There is no silence upon the earth or under the earth like the silence

    under the sea;

    No cries announcing birth,

    No sounds declaring death.

    There is silence when the milt is laid on the spawn in the weeds and

    fungus of the rock-clefts;

    And silence in the growth and struggle for life.

    The bonitoes pounce upon the mackerel,

    And are themselves caught by the barracudas,

    The sharks kill the barracudas

    And the great molluscs rend the sharks,

    And all noiselessly –

    Though swift be the action and final the conflict,

    The drama is silent.

    There is no fury upon the...

  14. Textual Variants and Emendations
    (pp. 253-262)
  15. Annotations
    (pp. 263-292)
    Sandra Djwa, Robert Gibbs and David Savage
  16. Appendix A: Miscellaneous Poems
    (pp. 293-304)
  17. Appendix B: Unpublished Drama
    (pp. 305-358)
  18. Appendix C: Unpublished Poetry
    (pp. 359-372)
  19. Descriptive Bibliography
    (pp. 373-497)
    Lila Laakso
  20. Index of First Lines
    (pp. 498-500)
  21. Index of Titles in Parts 1 and 2
    (pp. 501-504)