REVIEWS

Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page

'Djwa meticulously traces Page’s artistic evolution and early influences, particularly in her close reading of Page’s journals, and for this reason Journey With No Maps should provide a valuable resource to Page scholars and enthusiasts for decades to come.'

Harold Heft, Montreal Gazette, October 17, 2012



'Journey With No Maps is not just a biography of a poet, but of a painter, and a relentless explorer of the human condition. [...] Djwa portrays Page as an artist across disciplines, and an apparent master of anything to which she put her hand. She treats Page’s study of Sufism as a form of this promiscuous, borderless creativity.'

Anna Leventhal, Montreal Review of Books, Fall 2012





Harold Heft, review of Journey with no Maps: A Life of P.K. Page, Montreal Gazette, October 17, 2012.


Anna Leventhal, "The Poet Is in the Detail," Montreal Review of Books, Fall 2012.



Tracy Sherlock and Sandra Djwa, Q&A "Canadian Poet was pioneer of her generation"
Vancouver Sun, November 3, 2012, C8.



David Staines," Lives (and works) of poets: P.K. Page and bpNichol" captured in new works,"
Globe and Mail, November 3, 2012, R13.



Joan Givner, review of Journey with No Maps, BC Book World, Winter 2012-2013, Vol. 78 Issue 10, p26.



Victoria Ahern, "Sandra's Djwa bio on poet P.K. Page on short list for Charles Taylor Prize," Winnipeg Free Press, January 19, 2013.



Lynne Van Luven, "P.K. Page biographer, reveals her method," The Coastal Spectator, January 11, 2013.



Molly Peacock, "Peripatetic Poet: The inner and outer journeys of P.K. Page,"
Literary Review of Canada, Volume 21 Number 1 January/February 2013
29.



Anne Kingston, "The life of P.K. Page," Maclean's, March 4, 2013, 62-63.



Barbara Colebrook Peace, "Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page by Sandra Djwa,"
BC Studies, posted, nd. http://www.bcstudies.com/reviews.php?id=838847

The Politics of the Imagination: A Life of F.R. Scott

'This is a fine book: impeccably researched, stylishly written, endlessly informative and cleverly organized.  It has something for everyone who reads books at all and who possesses some interest in the history of this country. Scott [has] been at the centre of well nigh all the major events of the first 85 years of this century … How wonderful that such an important story should be told so exceptionally.'  
Allen Mills, Winnipeg Free Press, November 1987.



'To read this book is to see modern Canadian history and the Canadian identity take shape in front of you.  No concerned Canadian, especially those under 40, can afford not to read it.  And because of Djwa’s skill and style, it is an unalloyed pleasure to do so.'  
Arnold Edinborough, Financial Post, 14 March 1988



I am dredging up a novel buried under the conventions of documentary and objective history…
Eight years after Scott’s retirement, Djwa met him for the first time… Her “Afterword” recounts their relationship from the day she comes into his office to find him slumped on his desk, suffering an attack of tachycardia… A novelist would state here, foregrounding the gulf between what the researcher reads into the subject and what the subject remembers. Djwa revives Scott, and later brings a lot back from the grave of the past. Her analysis of Scott’s translations of Anne Hébert’s “Le Tombeau des rois” leads into a fascinating account of repression, the subject matter of the poem. Scott, like all of us, consistently rewrote the story of his life. He obliterated and then forgot his youthful pro-war feelings. He repressed the pain of his brother Harry’s death while wearing the ring his father had used to identify Harry’s body, dug up under bombardment in no-man’s land after a frantic search. Both he and Pierre Trudeau underestimated Scott’s influence on the former Prime Minister’s constitutional thinking. Djwa rescues a far more complicated Scott from the self-imposed persona of the prig… Anyone who knows at twenty-six that he will have a biographer is a slippery customer indeed, and needs the weight of definitive biography to hold him down for a bit.
Margery Fee, The Malahat Review, 82 (March 1988)



In her thoroughly documented and lucidly written study (it reads like a novel), Sandra Djwa has captured all the great qualities which made Frank Scott one of the most respected Canadians of this century, indeed, of any of our centuries.
    Douglas C. Lochhead, Telegraph-Journal, 1988



F.R. Scott, constitutional scholar, civil libertarian, political activist, and poet, was an exceptional Canadian, and only a biographer of unusual ability could have done justice to his multifaceted talents. Sandra Djwa, a professor of English at Simon Fraser University and a self-confessed Canadian cultural nationalist, has risen magnificently to the challenge. In this book she has given us a scholarly, balanced, and eminently readable account of one of this century’s most fascinating Canadian personalities, and has created an indispensable guide for future researchers. Her biography of Scott is superior in every respect to every other Canadian legal biography I have read; I hope that, if it has not already done so, it receives the prize it so richly deserves.
  Jacob S. Ziegel, University of Toronto Law Journal, 1989



Professing English: A Life of Roy Daniells (2001)

How then can a 450—page book emerge from a life of simply ‘professing English’? Half an hour into reading Sandra Djwa’s biography - which at the end I would not have wanted shorter by a hundredth part—I exclaimed ‘Detraction avaunt! Celebration approach and sweep the strings!’ It was indeed a memorable life, and is a memorable Life.
William Blissett, “Professing English: A Life of Roy Daniells.” University of Toronto Quarterly: vol 73, no 1, Winter 2003/4 302-304



Sandra Djwa’s …study of Daniells… is first of all, a history of the development of scholarship and of higher education in Canada, in the important growth years following the Second World War. A saga or organizing, lobbying, collaboration, and disputation, the book also details the more informal networks within which important scholars—Northrop Frye, for example, or Earle Birney, or Desmond Pacey—interacted and created... In addition, Professing English offers portraits of the English departments at Toronto… Manitoba and British Columbia… Detailed, yet animated by interviews and first-hand accounts, Professing English makes an important contribution to the history of English studies, and of the humanities more generally, in this country… Djwa’s achievement has been to pry apart the life and work and to construct an “inner” story to parallel the institutional narrative. Indeed—as the opening epigraph from Pilgrim’s Progress will signal to the reader—this life of Roy Daniells could as easily be classified as a spiritual biography.
  Heather Murray, “ A Distinguished Man,” Canadian Literature: 2004

Studies of E.J. Pratt
Sandra Djwa,  E.J. Pratt:  The Evolutionary Vision (1974)
E.J. Pratt, Complete Poems of E.J. Pratt,  eds Sandra Djwa and Gordon Moyles, 1989

 

E.J. Pratt, Selected Poems. Ed. Sandra Djwa, W.J. Keith and Zailig Pollock. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. xxxii+244pp.

Here is a complex, forceful, generally useful and gracefully articulated machinery intended to insert the partly derivative, partly unique development of Pratt’s work into a larger history of modern poetry. So to accompany a generous selection of Pratt’s poems, we have Djwa’s introductory essay on "Pratt’s Life and Work," which narrates influences upon and transformations of Pratt’s style and concerns where modern literary contexts and biographical contexts intersect; we have Pollock’s "Textual Note," which provides an attentive overview of variations in printed presentation of the poems and other textual matters; we have a nicely substantive but brief Biographical Chronology for Pratt; we have a Selected Bibliography, and we have a section of Notes…
Djwa’s introductory essay provides a clear and economical overview of Pratt’s life as it relates to his writing career and interests, and will provide students of Canadian literature an exemplary representation of how uniquely regional and national determinants (e.g. the oral-cultural, public-occasion and ballad traditions of Newfoundland poetry, the literary-nationalist contexts and institutions for modern Canadian poetry) intersect with more general cosmopolitan concerns (e.g. the new technologies, the world wars, the new modernist aesthetics). Such a framework provides a very informed, illuminating view of the development of formal characteristics special to Pratt, such as the documentary poem…
Glenn Willmott, “Modernizing Pratt” in Canadian Poetry volume 48



F.R. Scott: Une Vie

De Frank Scott, nous savons qu’il s’est surtout attaché, comme l’ecrit sa biographe Sandra Djwa, “à développer la nation (canadienne) quand il y avait sipeu à partir de quoi construire”, tant sur le plan politique que poétique. Ce qui allait parfois à l’encontre des aspirations de la majorité francophone de la Belle Province, dont il a par ailleurs cotoyé et traduit les poetes.
Mais comme nous l’apprend F. R. Scott, Une vie, qui parait ces lundi aux Editions du Boréal, meme dans les lettres canadiennes, Scott fait figure d’etre a part. Sa carrière litteraire a longtemps été éclipsée par sa vie d’homme public. Sa biographie aborde surtout l’homme sous cet aspect. Du reste, ce dernier a certainement consacré plus de temps au droit constitutionnel et à l’action politique au sein de la gauche canadienne qu’ à la poésie. De meme les Québécois risquent-ils de se souvenir davantage de lui comme l’avocat qui a réussi à les débarrasser de la loi du cadenas que comme le chantre des vieilles Laurentides.
Hervé Guay, “La loi du poète: Sandra Djwa raconte Frank Scott,” Le Devoir, 2001.



Ce qui n’etait pas inévitable, c’est que, 14 ans après sa parution, l’exellente biographie d’un professeur de litérature de Simon Fraser, Mme Sandra Djwa, soit enfin traduite en francais et tout récement publiée a Montréal (1).
Il s’agit d’une fascinate traversée du siècle en compagnie d’un homme qui s’etait donné pour mission de “reconstruire” la société canadienne. On voit, au point de depart de sa démarche, imprégne de principes religieux, obsédé par l’idée de construire un nationalisme canadien à travers l’art et la politique.
  Yves Boisvert, “F.R. Scott: une grande vie dans le siècle,” La Presse,  2001