20 April 2010

The Verse Inside

Newspaper editor John Stephen Willison was an admirer of James McIntyre, which may explain the position of the poet's name above those of Alexander Charles Stewart, Bliss Carman and Charles Sangster in the 23 December 1893 edition of the Globe. What follows is a brief overview of "real Canadian poets" by critic Thomas Conant. All is quite polite. Of McIntyre, Conant cautions:
The great majority of his fellow poets will, I suppose, be disposed to pass him over in silence because he is deficient in grammar and early elementary education. No doubt he has written some lines which would have been better never to have seen the light, and doggerel, I am afraid, they must be termed. Yes, and so have the best of his fellows of the muse done the same to some extent! Not that I mean to be at all ungenerous, but only just to Mr. McIntyre: for he has really the verse in him, and gives us some here and again quite worth while.
The critic is selective in quoting McIntyre's verse, drawing lines from "Prologue to South Ontario Sketches" and "Province of Ontario". I take the same liberty in presenting the first 28 of the latter:

Poems of James McIntyre (Ingersoll, ON: Chronicle, 1889)

"This is certainly from the pen of a man who loves Ontario," observes Conant.

Those in need will find an antidote in "The Flight" by McIntyre's contemporary Susie Frances Harrison, otherwise known as "Seranus":

S. Frances Harrison. Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis (Toronto: Hart, 1891)

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