A celebration of the life and work of Miriam Waddington

A star of the Canadian literary scene, Miriam Waddington (née Dworkin), professor emeritus of English at York University and a life member of the League of Canadian Poets, died on March 3, 2004, in Vancouver. She was 86. Over her lifetime Waddington published 12 books of poetry. In 2004, an excerpt from one of her poems was included on the new Bank of Canada $100 note. Her work has been published in over 200 anthologies and translated into several languages. Two of her books, Driving Home and Collected Poems won the J.I. Segal prize in 1972 and 1986.

Miriam WaddingtonMembers of the York community who knew Waddington, or who have an appreciation of her poetry, are invited to a celebration of her life. This special event will take place today in Room 109, the Harry Crowe Room, Atkinson College, from 3 to 5pm. An informal reception following the event will take place in Sylvester’s in Stong College.

Right: Miriam Waddington

The event has been organized by Professor Gail Vanstone, coordinator, Culture & Expression Program in the School of Arts & Letters, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, who was a close friend of Waddington. “She was an ‘original’ and a dear friend,” said Vanstone. “Since she died, there has been no formal event at York to recognize her contributions to Canadian literature. Miriam actually inhabited many communities at York and elsewhere. She was part of a group of modernist poets in the 1930s and 1940s.”

She enjoyed an early career as a social worker in hospitals, prisons and children’s agencies, and was a member of the Otto Rank Association, whose members were among the vanguard in the use of psychoanalysis in social work. Waddington accepted a faculty position in English literature at York University and taught from 1964 to 1983. She retired from teaching at age 65 and was awarded the title of professor emeritus shortly afterward. Waddington held a BA (University of Toronto), an MSW (Pennsylvania State) and an MA (University of Toronto). She was awarded two honorary degrees, one from Lakehead University and the other from York University.

The celebration of the life and work of Miriam Waddington is co-sponsored by the School of Arts and Letters, Atkinson, and the English Department, Faculty of Arts. For more information, contact Gail Vanstone at ext. 33957.


  • Borestone Mountain Awards: best poems of 1963, 1966, 1974

  • DLitt, Lakehead University, 1975

  • DLitt, York University, 1985

Selected Publications

  • Say Yes (Oxford University Press, 1969)

  • A.M. Klein (criticism) (Copp Clark, 1970)

  • John Sutherland: Essays, Controversies, Poems (Editor) (McClelland & Stewart, 1972)

  • The Price of Gold (Oxford University Press, 1976)

  • Mister Never (Turnstone Press, 1978)

  • The Visitants (Oxford University Press, 1981)

  • Summer at Lonely Beach (fiction) (Mosaic Press, 1982)

  • Collected Poems (Oxford University Press, 1986)

  • Apartment Seven: Essays Selected and New (Oxford University Press, 1989)

  • The Last Landscape (Oxford University Press, 1992)