Tag: essays

Obit: Miriam Waddington (2004)

To the many friends and critics who feel that Canadian-Jewish poet and writer Miriam Waddington did not get the recognition she deserved in life, her recent death in Vancouver seems especially sad and ironic because it occurred only weeks before she would have gained what may very well be her largest popular reading audience and…

Two by Sherman: Clusters and The Well

The author of nine books of poetry including the recent Clusters, Kenneth Sherman has received considerable critical recognition, yet he acknowledges he still labors in relative obscurity in an age when the public has lost much of its passion for poetry. The Toronto writer teaches English composition at Sheridan College and creative writing at York…

God and the American Writer

American literary critic Alfred Kazin spoke at the International Festival of Authors on the subject of his latest book, God and the American Writer (Knopf, 1997) — namely, the supreme relevance of God to public discourse in America in the last century, versus God’s supreme irrelevance to public discourse today. Whether they were believers or not,…

Kvetching All the Way to the Bank

With two new books in print to follow his 2005 bestseller Born to Kvetch, and enjoying a new popularity with Jewish audiences who delight in his erudite knowledge of Yiddish, Toronto writer Michael Wex can no longer be said to be languishing in obscurity. In the round fullness of middle age, the Lethbridge-born Yiddishist put…

Roskies’ Yiddishlands is evocative memoir

Soon after her arrival in Canada in 1940, Masha Roskies sat down to a meal at her sister-in-law’s house in Montreal and, seeing that only “Canadian bread” (the white, fluffy stuff called Wonder Bread) was on the table, asked for a piece of real bread instead. When her aunt curtly replied that “this was what…

Insightful guide to American Jewish fiction

The esteemed Jewish Publication Society of Philadelphia has just published American Jewish Fiction, a new literary guidebook that is a delight to browse, genuinely thought-provoking to read, and also happens to bring immense credit to one of our own. The author is Josh Lambert, who was born and raised in Toronto, where he graduated from…

More Wit & Wisdom from Michael Wex

Michael Wex, the Toronto writer, raconteur and Yiddishist whose previous non-fiction book Born to Kvetch climbed to the top of the bestseller lists, now presents us with an equally learned and funny manual about how to be a human being — humane, considerate, and wise enough to do the right thing. How to Be a…

Sherman, Wiseman, Michaels, Shrayer (for Chanukah)

Anyone who cares about the state of contemporary Jewish writing should not neglect to read What the Furies Bring, a new book of essays by Toronto essayist-poet Kenneth Sherman (Porcupine’s Quill). By itself, Sherman’s choice of subject matter is compelling. His essay topics include “Yiddish and the Jewish Canon,” “Anne Frank and the Search for…

Essential Canlit from William Weintraub

Iconic Canadian author Mordechai Richler figures prominently in Getting Started: A Memoir of the 1950s, by William (“Why Rock the Boat?”) Weintraub (McClelland & Stewart, 1999). As a young print and radio journalist stationed in Europe, Weintraub kept up a lively correspondence with Richler, Mavis Gallant and Brian Moore during a period of heightened literary…