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Margaret Atwood: Up and coming poet

The Story


Margaret Atwood reads two poems on CBC Television's Extension. She is part of a series dedicated to new Canadian poets. Not yet 30, Atwood's books of poetry have received some prestigious awards - she is the recipient of the E. J. Pratt Medal for Double Persephone (1961) and the Governor General's Award for poetry for The Circle Game (1966).

Medium: Television
Program: Extension
Broadcast Date: July 23, 1967
Guest: Margaret Atwood
Host: Phyllis Webb
Duration: 2:47
Atwood reads: "The green man" and "It is dangerous to read newspapers"

Did You know?


• Atwood published her first book of poetry at age 21. She printed 200 copies and sold them for 50 cents each.

• Atwood was one of six new poets and the only woman featured in this episode of CBC Television's Extension. Other poets included Michael Ondaatje, Roy Kiyooka, Robert Hogg, Harry Howith and Joe Rosenblatt.

• Atwood's early poetry was influenced by her University of Toronto professors Jay Macpherson and Northrop Frye. 

• When Atwood started writing in the 1950s and 1960s, she criticized a lack of tradition of Canadian writing. "During one year in the early 1960s, only five Canadian novels were published and the country was considered a kind of hopeless cultural backwater." - in the New York Times, Dec. 1996

• During her years at University of Toronto, Atwood made her poetry reading debut at the Bohemian Embassy.

• Atwood has published numerous collections of poetry over the decades. Some of these include The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986 (1986) and Eating Fire (1998).


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