Writer and publisher Stan Dragland, who co-founded poetry press Brick Books, dies at 79

Writer, editor and literary critic Stan Dragland is remembered as a champion of independent publishing whose love of Canadian literature extended far beyond the page.

Dragland’s own bibliography blurred the lines between genres, and he co-founded one of Canada’s few poetry publishers, Brick Books, in 1975. He was also the publisher of the Ontario-based press and was the founding editor of the literary magazine Brick. .

Dragland died Aug. 2 of sudden cardiac arrest in Trinity, Newfoundland, said Alayna Munce, the current publisher of Brick Books. He was 79 years old.

Munce described Dragland as an “extraordinary editor” whose keen eye and magnanimous spirit would leave a lasting mark on the Canadian literary scene.

“I’ve spoken to so many poets and writers over the past few days who felt they saw Stan for the first time,” Munce said by phone Monday.

“(He) was an effortless but also relentless mentor to so many writers. And in his review, he took up people’s writing with a deep dedication to reading deeply and lovingly.

The Alberta-born, Newfoundland-based writer has written works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and literary criticism, or often, a combination of these literary forms.

Among Dragland’s titles were the 1979 novel, “Peckertracks: A Chronicle”; his 2005 collection of prose poems, “Stormy Weather: Foursomes”; and the 2013 multimedia examination of masculinity, “Deep Too.”

Dragland also worked with some of Canada’s top wordsmiths as poetry editor at McClelland & Stewart in the mid-1990s.

He also had a distinguished career as an English teacher, teaching at institutions such as Western University and the Banff Centre.

In 2020 Dragland was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 8, 2022.

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