Raymond Knister Poems

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Raymond Knister
Raymond Knister (1899-1932) was a Canadian novelist, short story writer, poet, critic and journalist who died in a swimming accident on Lake St. Clair at age 33. Knister is considered to be one of the first modern writers in Canada, both in his Imagist poetry and his experimental techniques in his short stories and novels. Born at Ruscomb, Ontario, near Windsor on May 27, 1899, Raymond attended the University of Toronto and Iowa State University. Raymond married Myrtle Gamble (1901-1995) on June 18, 1927. They had one child, Imogen, born on June 4, 1930, who is now Imogen Givens of Waterford, Ontario. Some years after Raymond's death, Myrtle remarried becoming Myrtle Grace. Today there are six grandchildren, Sheila Givens, Rebecca Givens, Raymond Givens, Paul Givens, Glenn Givens and Ruth Greenlaw. Knister's life was short but he wrote and left behind a great deal of material. He was a professional writer so he had to write full time to survive. White Narcissus, a novel, and Canadian Short Stories, a collection of short stories he edited were published in his lifetime. My Star Predominant, a biography of John Keats, won first prize of $2500.00 in a cross-Canada novel contest in 1931. It was published posthumously in 1934 in England and in Canada. He was a friend and contemporary of Morley Callaghan, Leo Kennedy, A. J. M. Smith and many others of the 20's and 30's. Knister lived first in Essex and Kent Counties in Ontario at Comber, Cedar Springs and Northwood, later in Iowa City, Chicago, Toronto, Port Dover and the last year of his life was spent in Montreal. His grave is at Port Dover. His work is still being published today. He is the 23rd most anthologized Canadian writer ahead of Emily Carr and Robertson Davies. Black Moss Press of Windsor has published 4 editions of Knister's work and has plans to publish more. Knister's life was brief but he left behind a legacy still being read today.

a farewell to tobacco
May the Babylonish curse,
Strait confound my stammering verse,
If I can a passage see... [read poem]
the glove and the lions
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day, as his lions fought, sat ... [read poem]
I shall not wonder more, then,
But I shall know.

Leaves change, and birds, flowers,... [read poem]
thoughtless cruelty
There, Robert, you have kill'd that fly -- ,
And should you thousand ages try
The life you... [read poem]
on an infant dying as soon as born
I saw where in the shroud did lurk
A curious frame of Nature's work.
A flow'ret crushed in... [read poem]
the old familiar faces
I have had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,... [read poem]
abou ben adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And s... [read poem]
to margaret w------
Margaret, in happy hour,
Christen'd from that humble flower
Which we a daisy call!... [read poem]
parental recollections
A child's a plaything for an hour;
Its pretty tricks we try
For that or for a longer s... [read poem]
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