15 December 2009

John Glassco: 100 Years

"I believe, actually, that birthdays should be dated from the moment of conception or fertilization, because that was undoubtedly a pleasanter occasion for everyone concerned."
John Glassco, letter to A.J.M. Smith, 27 Oct 1964

John Glassco was born at his parents' Montreal home one hundred years ago today. There are toasts to be made, of course, but I'm reminded that this was rarely a happy time of year for the poet. The birthday, followed so closely by Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day only served to remind him of the dreaded passage of time. In Glassco's final years, his wife, Marion McCormick, moved the day of celebration to 15 June.

Twenty-eight years after the man's death, reference works have come to record 19 December as Glassco's date of birth – an error that can be traced back to his entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia. I expect Glassco, that great practitioner of deceit, would have enjoyed the confusion.

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