I Want to Tell You Love

A poetry collection by Milton Acorn and bill bissett, edited by Eric Schmaltz & Christopher Doody.

Milton Acorn and bill bissett, edited by Eric Schmaltz & Christopher Doody

bill bissett and Milton Acorn are two of Canada's most significant, and most controversial, literary figures. In the 1960s, bissett's renown as an experimental poet was growing as his social and political concerns were stirred by the voice of the counterculture. Acorn, inspired by socialist theory and imagism, was building his reputation as a poet on the margin who ran against the grain of the literary establishment. Both were rising towards cultural prominence—one, a true beatnik and the other, a certifiably rugged lyric poet. In 1965 they came together in a remarkable collaboration, a challenge to the established literary tradition and a call for a better world.

Published for the very first time, I Want to Tell You Love is the combination of bissett and Acorn's seemingly incongruous poetics to confront the turbulent and swiftly changing world of the 1960s. A collection of poems and illustrations, it is a window into the lives and motivations of two soon-to-be-canonized cultural figures. I Want to Tell You Love is a work of friendship, a shared vision of resistance, and a mutual longing for a better world.

This critical edition offers the manuscript in its intended form alongside contextualizing scholarship in a significant contribution to literary history. I Want to Tell You Love offers an opportunity to reevaluate the nature and scope of Canadian poetry during a critical time of national cultural awakening. (From University of Calgary Press)

I Want to Tell You Love is available in October 2021.

Milton Acorn is one of the most recognizable poets of the mid-to-late twentieth century in Canada. He published more than 20 books including I've Tasted My Blood and The Island Means Minago, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 1975. The Prince Edward Island poet lived on Toronto Island for many years. Acorn died in 1986.

bill bissett is a poet and artist born in Halifax and based in Toronto. Known for his unconventional writing style, bissett has written more than 60 books of poetry. breth is his latest collection. His awards include the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award and the BC Book Prizes Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Eric Schmaltz is a scholar, poet, editor and educator. His research has focused on experimental and avant-garde Canadian literature. 

Christopher Doody is a scholar whose work has focused on book history and mid-twentieth century authorship in Canada.

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