Friday, August 21, 2015

Jane Jordan poetry book give-away: a report,

Last Friday night we had a small gathering of poets in our wee house for the sake of a party/book give-away. Over the past few weeks, we'd been handed nine bins of material--books, literary journals, flyers and even manuscripts--belonging to the late Ottawa poet Jane Jordan [see my original post on receiving such here]. In keeping with the wishes of Jane Jordan's family, who had the hopes of getting her library in the hands of other poets, bins of books were sorted, organized and set out for an evening of conversation, gifting and drinks.

Some of those who came by included Michael Dennis, Alexander Monker, Cameron Anstee, Rachael Simpson, Vivian Vavassis, Jason Christie, Marilyn Irwin and Frances Boyle, with further works distributed to Monty Reid and Jeff Blackman (who were unable to attend). You wouldn't believe some of the items that were available; the photos only hint at the enormous wealth of poetry books, journals and chapbooks. A considerable percentage of the collection focused on works by Ottawa poets during the 1970s and 80s, highlighting her support for and engagement with a number of authors, most of whom had signed their collections to her, including: Irving Layton, Al Purdy, Leonard Cohen, Seymour Mayne, D.G. Jones, Margaret Atwood, Stephanie Bolster, William Hawkins, Marianne Bluger, bill bissett, Cyril Dabydeen, Patrick White, Raymond Souster, Miriam Waddington, Diana Brebner, Dennis Tourbin, Brian Fawcett, Daphne Marlatt, Gwendolyn MacEwan, Phyllis Webb, Milton Acorn, Ted Plantos, Christopher Levenson, Eli Mandel, bpnichol, Steven Heighton and so many, many others.

Thanks so much all who attended, and of course, John White, who was so generous with his mother's books.

Rose, of course, loved the attention. She danced and ran around, in between bouts of colouring.

And did I mention that many works are still available? Should we have a second party for those who might have missed the first?


Barbara White said...

Hello Rob

I had no idea my brother elected to do this, but I suppose it is fitting... Thanks for opening your hearth and home for the party.

Please note: My mother Jane White - who assumed the last name of "Jordan" for writing purposes only - did not divorce my father G. Russell White, but moved to Ottawa in 1971 with the family (which included four children then ages 11-17) in support of his career with Revenue Canada. She was instrumental, of course, in developing the poetry scene in Ottawa, and made many stalwart friends - who provided much support after her passing. Special thanks to Ronnie Brown and Sylvia Adams.

And thank you, Rob, for remembering my dear mother. I have all of the remaining copies of her last book, A Signature of Leaves, if anyone would like a copy! Please email Barbara White at

Barbara White said...

Here is a link to a 2017 article in Quill & Quire which sheds further insight into Jane's literary lineage:


Barbara A. White, M.A.
(Jane's daughter)