Gregory Betts


Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence
PhD York University

Office: GLA 131
905 688 5550  x5318

Teaching Areas: Canadian Modernism, Avant-garde Canadian Poetry

In my research and teaching, I explore the representation of revolution, insurrection, dislocation, and linguistic error in Canadian literature. I am interested in the use of imported avant-garde techniques by Canadian writers, and the invention of new approaches to writing by the same. This approach addresses the movement of culture, especially across borders, and the ultimate or intended impact of new cultural forms. My monograph Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations (2013) documented diverse examples of the kind up until the 1960s. My current SSHRC-funded research project, explores subsequent manifestations of avant-garde literature in Canada since the 1960s. I was recently named the curator of the digital archive of Canadian avant-garde poet bpNichol, which connects to my interests outlined above and expands them into areas of digital scholarship, archives, and information management and technologies.

I welcome undertaking student supervisions on topics in Canadian and avant-garde literature, cross-border comparative studies, and intermedial studies of adaptations.

Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. 328 p.

Editor and Introduction. Space Between Her Lips: The Selected Poetry of Margaret Christakos. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2017.

Co-Editor and Introduction with Paul Hjartarson and Kristine Smitka. Counterblasting Canada: Into the Social and Intellectual Vortex of Marshall McLuhan, Wyndham Lewis, Sheila Watson, and Wilfred Watson. University of Alberta Press, 2016.

Co-Editor and Afterword with Derek Beaulieu. RUSH: What Fuckan Theory; A Study uv Langwage. By bill bissett. Toronto: BookThug, 2012.

Editor and Introduction. The Wrong World: Bertram Brooker’s Stories and Essays. Ottawa: The University of Ottawa Press, 2009.

Editor and Introduction. Lawren Harris In the Ward: His Poetry and Painting. Toronto: Exile Editions, 2007. Second edition modified to Contrasts: Lawren Harris In the Ward: A Book of Poetry and Paintings, 2012.

Editor and Introduction. After Exile: A Raymond Knister Poetry Reader. Toronto: Exile Editions, 2003. Second edition 2012.

Assistant Editor. W.W.E. Ross: Irrealities, Sonnets & Laconics. Editor Barry Callaghan. Toronto: Exile Editions, 2003.

Canadian Literature. A Special Issue on “The Concept of Vancouver”. Co-edited with Julia Polyck-O’Neill and Andrew McEwan. In progress.

Jacket2. A Special Feature on “Avant Canada: On the Canadian avant-garde.” Co-edited and Introduction with Katie Price.

Open Letter. A Special Issue on Surrealism in Canada. Co-edited with Beatriz Hausner. 15.3 (Summer 2013).

Open Letter. A Special Issue on the Kootenay School of Writing. Co-edited with Robert Stacey. 14.3 (Summer 2010).

Boycott. Los Angeles: Make Now Press, 2014. In press.

This is Importance: A Students’ Guide to Literature. Hamilton: Wolsak and Wynn, 2013.

The Obvious Flap. Co-written with Gary Barwin. Toronto: BookThug, 2011.

Psychic Geographies and Other Topics. Toronto: Quattro Press, 2010.

The Others Raisd in Me. Toronto: Pedlar Press, 2009. Reprinted 2011.

Haikube. Produced in collaboration with Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegal. Toronto: BookThug, 2006.

If Language. Toronto: BookThug, 2005. Reprinted 2008.

“From TISH to HITS: Some Grateful Contexts for the Trips Festival in Vancouver 1966.” Chapbook. Calgary: No Press, 2018.

“Seeing Visual Poetry in Canada as Decolonial Poesis.” Utsanga. 9 (January 2018).

“In Search of Blew: An Eventual Index of Blewointment Magazine 1963-1977.” Chapbook. Among the Neighbors. 2 (Fall 2016). 1-39.

“When Out in Front Gets Left Behind: Sol Allen’s They Have Bodies and Canada’s Archived Avant-Garde.” Making Canada New: Editing, Modernism, and New Media. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. 265-284.

“Not Against Expression: NourbeSe’s Zong!Jacket2. North of Invention Special Issue. 29 March 2013.

“The New Canadian Vortex: Marshall McLuhan and the Avant-Garde Function of Counter-Environments.” Counterblasting Canada: Marshall McLuhan, Wyndham Lewis, Wilfred Watson, and Sheila Watson. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2016.

“Modernist Literature in North America.” The Modernist World. Ed. Stephen Ross and Allana C. Lindgren. New York: Routledge, 2015. 538-546.  

““we stopped at nothing”: Finding Nothing in the Avant-Garde Archive.” Amodern. 4 (2015). Web.

“I Object: Writing Against the Contemporary.” English Studies in Canada. 40.2-3 (June/September 2014). 41-64.

“Dialogic Phantasy in Bruce McDonald’s Adaptive Narratives.” Double-Takes: Intersections Between Canadian Literature and Film. Ed. David R. Jarraway. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2013. 95-109.

“The Transnational Agenda of Lewis and Pound’s Avant-Garde.” Literature, Geography, Translation: Studies in World Writing. Ed. Cecilia Alvstad, Stefan Helgesson, and David Watson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. 209-220.

“Copy Paste Publish: On Appropriation.” Co-written equally with Derek Beaulieu. Canadian Literature. 210-211 (Autumn/Winter 2011). 254-259.

Preface. A Critical Anthology of English-Canadian Verse in the Times of Sir Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King (1896-1911 and 1921-1947): The Sunny Way. Ed. Al Kizuk. New York: Edwin Mellon, 2011.

“From Wit to Plunder in a Time of War.” The Poetic Front. 3 (2010).

“A Postmodern Decadence in Canadian Sound and Visual Poetry.” Re:Reading the Postmodern. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2010. 151-179.

“Just Playing Mad: Irrationalism in Automatism via Claude Gauvreau.” The Brock Review. 10. (2009). 10-25.“Non compos mentis: A Meta-Historical Survey of the Historiographic Narratives of Louis Riel’s ‘Insanity’”. International Journal of Canadian Studies. 40 (Spring 2009).

“Media, McLuhan, and the Dawn of the Electric Age in Sheila Watson’s Deep Hollow Creek and The Double Hook.”  Essays in Canadian Writing. 84 (Winter 2008).

“The Revolutionary Other: A Resistance Strategy by Lamming, Selvon, and Brand for the Caribbean and its Diaspora.” Diasporic Ruptures: Globality, Migrancy, and Expressions of Identity. Ed. Alireza Asgharzadeh, Erica Lawson, Kayleen U. Oka, and Amar Wahab. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2007. 125-144.