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20 Jan 1949-21 May 2018
Colin Christopher Stuart was a Canadian poet closely associated with the West Coast poetry movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the 'New American Poetry' anthologized by Donald Allen.
A shy and withdrawn child prodigy, Colin was one of the five children of W.M.P. (Manfred) Stuart and Bessie Dolina Stuart (nee Macaulay). He grew up in Vancouver and Burnaby, composing poetry and playing the bagpipes in the Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band, with which he competed at the 1962 Edinburgh Festival.
He attended Simon Fraser University at an early age, was present at the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference and graduated from SFU with a degree in English literature. He began a graduate degree at SFU, which he did not complete, but was awarded a Canada Council grant for further studies in poetics and for a time did graduate work in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1974 he attended the British School of Classical Studies in Athens.
His early writing was published in numerous Canadian and American poetry magazines of the 1960s and early 1970s, including TISH, Talon, Capilano Review, Pacific Nation, Skree, Iron, Writing (George Straight Writing Supplement), Fathar (Bolinas), and Boundary 2 (Buffalo). His critical and poetic work responded to a number of influences: Black Mountain poetics, Post-structuralist philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, English romanticism, French symbolism, and Islamic religious writings. In addition to Blaser’s mentorship, Stuart’s work was supported by broad community of artists and writers: Laura Baird, John “Jack” Clarke, Pierre Coupey, Susan Knutson, and Duncan McNaughton.
By the mid/late 1970s he seemed poised to establish himself as a leading younger Canadian poet but suffered setbacks in his personal life, including a falling-out with his one-time mentor and SFU graduate supervisor, the poet Robin Blaser. He halted the volume of his poems Talonbooks was preparing for publication in the early 1980s, and in later years became isolated from former friends and colleagues, suffering from mental and physical health issues, addiction, brushes with the law, and homelessness on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Though he continued to write, he avoided any further publication in his lifetime. He died in Vancouver's West End in 2018 at the age of 69, leaving a large archive of his life's work - manuscripts composed over a period of fifty years.
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Record created 19 JUL 2019, JMH
Biography composed by Tony Power. https://vancouversunandprovince.remembering.ca/obituary/colin-stuart-1066438875 https://www.thecapilanoreview.ca/issues/issue-1-10/