Although described by Margaret Atwood as “the most remarkable of her generation of woman poets,” Gwendolyn MacEwen (1941–1987) remains relativity unknown outside of Canada. In an effort to expose her work abroad, Italian publisher Alfio Longo recently released The Last Hieroglyph: Selected Poems by Gwendolyn MacEwen, a bilingual collection of fifty-five of MacEwen’s works, covering her thirty-year career. The book also contains appreciations by Atwood, William Weaver, David Donnell, Rosemary Sullivan, Mario Luzi, and Barry Callaghan.
The Last Hieroglyph is illustrated by Sandro Chia, one of Italy’s leading visual artists, who only recently discovered the poet. So moved was Chia by MacEwen’s work that he created a series of powerful works on paper inspired by her poems. These drawings currently are on display until January 31, 1998, at the Italian Cultural Institute of Toronto, 469 Huron Street.
A one-time Annex resident, MacEwen’s memory was honoured this summer when the City of Toronto names a small patch of land in Walmer Road Circle Gwendolyn MacEwen Park.