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Selected Poetry of Phyllis Gotlieb (1926-)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

I know where there is love deep as a river
and I know how to swim in it, thank God,
and also the bitterness of the seas it can decant into,
but the thready fibrillations of its sources are mysteries
to me, and though I know how to love a soul alive
I'm damned if I know how to make a soul rejoice.
I give up on it. I don't know anything.
        (What I Know (Making Free with Villon's Smalltalk), 17-23)
  1. Aquarius
  2. as I was walking down the street
  3. A Catful of Buttermilk
  4. Death's Head
  5. A Discourse
  6. A Double Vision
  7. First Person Demonstrative
  8. Hospitality
  9. Latitude
  10. Ordinary, Moving
  11. Red Black White
  12. Seventh Seal
  13. So Long It's Been
  14. Thirty-Six Ways of Looking at Toronto Ontario
  15. What I Know (Making Free with Villon's Smalltalk)


Notes on Life and Works

Phyllis Gotlieb, born in Toronto on May 25, 1926, to parents who owned a movie theatre, received her B.A. (1948) and M.A. (1950) from the University of Toronto. She published five volumes of poetry from 1964 to 2002, one of them nominated for a Governor General's Award. In 1964 she published the first of nine novels of science fiction, Sunburst, after which the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is named. Three sf series followed: the Dahlgren, 1976-89 (O Master Caliban! and Heart of Red Iron), the Ungrukh or Starcats, 1980-85 (A Judgment Of Dragons, Emperor, Swords and Pentacles, The Kingdom of Cats), and the GalFed, 1998-2002 (Flesh and Gold, Violent Stars, Mindworld). A Judgment Of Dragons won the Aurora award in 1982. She has also published a mainstream novel, Why Should I Have all the Grief (1969), and two volumes of short stories, notably Blue Apes (1995). Gotlieb edited Tesseracts 2 in 1987, and Transversions Poetry from 1995 to 2000. She has lived in Toronto with her husband, Calvin, since their marriage in 1949, and they have three children, Leo, Margaret, and Jane. She is affectionately regarded as the mother of Canadian sf, and her husband Calvin as the father of Canadian computer science.

Biographical information

Given name: Phyllis
Family name: Gotlieb
Maiden name: Bloom
Birth date: 25 May 1926
Nationality: Canadian
Ethnicity: Jewish
Residence: Toronto: 1926