Skip to main content
The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. More

Andrew Suknaski: Home

Andrew Suknaski

Andrew Suknaski:

An Inventory of His Papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Lewis St. George Stubbs
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, MB
(August 1998)

Finding aid encoded by Julianna Trivers (June 2002)
Finding aid written in English. 

Revision History

  • July 26, 2005 - MSS 125 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Biography of Andrew Suknaski

Scope and Contents of the Papers

Organization of the Papers

Arrangement of the Papers

Restrictions on Use

Other Finding Aids

Detailed Description of the Collection

Biographical Information 1953-1992

General Correspondence 1977-1998

In-Depth Correspondence 1949-1992

Diaries & Notebooks 1975-1992

Published Manuscripts 1971-1985

Unpublished Manuscripts 1971-1990

Published Poems 1968-1988

Interviews, Conference Papers & Book Reviews [ca. 1980]-1983

Unpublished Poetry & Early Drafts of Published Works 1973-1990

Thoughts, Concepts & Ideas 1964-1991

Journals Edited or Contributed To 1969-[ca. 1990]

Miscellaneous Material [ca. 1968]-[ca. 1990]

Oversized Material 1967-1987

Collection Summary

Repository:
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2
Creator:
Andrew Suknaski

Title:
Andrew Suknaski fonds

Dates:
1949-1998, predominant 1977-1992

Quantity:
9.6 m of textual records (32 boxes)

Identification:
MSS 125

Language
English.

Return to Top

Biography of Andrew Suknaski

The poet Andrew Suknaski was born in 1942 in a homestead near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan. His mother was Polish and his father Ukrainian; English was not his first language. Suknaski attended Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia as well as the Kootenay School of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Art & Design. He worked a series of menial jobs across the Prairies and in 1976 referred to himself as a ‘migrant worker.’

Much of Suknaski's early poetry is self published in pamphlet form by his own Elfin Plot Press. The work is visual in nature: concrete poems based on East Asian characters and collage. His emergence as a major voice in Western Canadian poetry can be traced to the publication of Wood Mountain Poems , by MacMillan Canada in 1976. This ground breaking work was followed by The Ghosts Call You Poor , in 1978. Suknaski's first two books have a mythological feel, with references to Sitting Bull, Chinese coolies in British Columbia and the Wood Mountain of his boyhood. That same year Suknaski was the topic of “Wood Mountain Poems,” a film by Harvey Spak for the National Film Board of Canada. The following year Suknaski published East of Myloona, a book about the people of the North. Over the next six years Suknaski produced three more books of poetry and an anthology. In the Name of Narid , 1981, tells of political suffering in other countries. The following year a volume of selected poems, The Land They Gave Away , was published as well as Montage to an Interstellar Cry .

At the beginning of the 1980s, Suknaski embarked on his most ambitious project to date, a work entitled “Celestial Mechanics”. The first phase of the project resulted in Montage to an Interstellar Cry . The second portion was entitled “Divining the West,” and never reached fruition. The third installment of the work resulted in the publication of Silk Trail in 1985, while the fourth component, “Ussuri Line,” remains unfinished. He also wrote a history of the Roumanians in Western Canada which was never published. Suknaski did not limit himself to poetry; he worked as a researcher on a number of National Film Board projects like “Grain” and “The Disinherited.” Poor health has prevented him from writing in recent years.

Return to Top

Scope and Contents of the Papers

In 1987, having wearied of transporting his personal papers during his frequent moves, Suknaski burned twenty years of records in a bonfire in his backyard. What remains of his papers encompasses the years 1977-1992. The collection comprises 15 linear feet. There are drafts of many of his published works as well as correspondence with literary figures like Eli Mandel, John Newlove, Robert Kroetsch and Kristjana Gunnars. The fond contains many unpublished poems and several drafts of the films that Suknaski worked on for the National Film Board And C.B.C. Perhaps the most valuable portion of the collection are the unpublished manuscripts that Suknaski worked on during the 1980s, including Divining the West , Ussuri Line and In Search of Parinti/History of the Roumanians in Western Canada .

Return to Top

Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 14 series

Biographical Information, 1953-1992
General Correspondence, 1977-1998
In Depth Correspondence, 1949-1992
Diaries & Notebooks, 1975-1992
Published Manuscripts, 1971-1985
Unpublished Manuscripts, 1971-1990
Published Poems, 1968-1988
Interviews, Conference Papers & Book Reviews, [ca. 1980]-1983
Unpublished Poetry & Early Drafts of Unpublished Works, 1973-1990
Thoughts, Concepts & Ideas, 1964-1991
Journals Edited or Contributed To, 1969-[ca. 1990]
Films, 1981-1990
Miscellaneous Material, [ca. 1968]-[ca. 1990]
Oversized Material, 1967-1987

Return to Top

Arrangement of the Papers

The Suknaski fonds arrived at the University of Manitoba in very poor condition. The task of putting it into some semblance of order has been daunting. The material was separated into correspondence, published material & unpublished material.

Return to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on this material.

Return to Top

Other Finding Aids

Photograph Collection (PC 137)

Tape Collection (TC 86)

Return to Top

Detailed Description of the Collection

     Biographical Information 1953-1992

Box Folder  
1 1 Biographical information, 1953-1992.
  1 Newspaper articles about Suknaski, 1967-1985.
  2 Articles about & interviews with Suknaski in journals, 1978-1991.
  3 Mentions in Anthologies, 1971-1987.
  4 Address book, [ca. 1972].

Return to Top


General Correspondence 1977-1998
 

Box Folder  
1 6 Correspondence - "A", 1977-1989.
  7 Correspondence - "B", 1977-1991.
  8 Correspondence - "C", 1977-1984.
  9 Correspondence - "D", 1977-1990.
  10 Correspondence - "E", 1982-1990.
  11 Correspondence - "F", 1979-1987.
  12 Correspondence - "G", 1977-1998.
  13 Correspondence - "H", 1977-1991.
  14 Correspondence - "J", 1977.
  15 Correspondence - "K", 1974-1990.
  16 Correspondence - "L", 1977-1991.
  17 Correspondence - "M", 1977-1989.
  18 Correspondence - "N, O, P", 1978-1990.
  19 Correspondence - "R", 1977-1987.
  20 Correspondence - "S", 1982-1989.
  21 Correspondence - "T", 1981-1985.
  22 Correspondence - "W", 1977-1991.
  23 Correspondence - "Y & Z", 1980-1986.

Return to Top


In-Depth Correspondence 1949-1992
 

Box Folder  
2 1 Access Network - Alberta Educational Communications correspondence, 1982-1987.
  2 Alberta Foundation for the Literary Arts, 1986.
  3 Amnesty International, 1981.
  4 Arnason, David, correspondence, 1982.
  5 Balan, Anna & Jars, correspondence, 1978-1988.
  6 Banking, 1985.
  7 Barclay, Byrna, correspondence, 1977.
  8 Bartlett, Jim, correspondence, 1977-1984.
  9 Belarus Equipment of Canada - Re: Tutoring in Russian, 1981-1982.
  10 Book reviews by Suknaski, 1974.
  11 999 Bookshop New York orders, 1981.
  12 Boyce, Pleuke, correspondence Re: reading in British Columbia, 1986-1987.
  13 Brinton, Jan, correspondence, 1977-1989.
  14 Burrs, Mick, correspondence, 1986-1992.
  15 Canada Council, 1976-1983.
  16 Canada Council 1984-1992.
  17 C.B.C. correspondence, 1976-1990.
  18 Canadian Literature correspondence, 1977-1988.
  19 Christensen, Peter, correspondence, 1978-1989.
  20 Commcept Publishing Ltd., 1977.
  21 Conference call letter to several friends, 1985.
  22 Coteau Books Ltd. correspondence, 1985-1988.
  23 Crusz, Rienzi, correspondence, 1983-1985.
  24 Cuelho, Art, correspondence, 1983-1984.
  25 Cypress Hills Summer School Course, 1984.
  26 Demjanew, Sophie, (Suknaski's sister) correspondence, includes letters from nieces, 1949-1991.
Box Folder  
3 1 Di Michaele, Mary, correspondence, 1985-1987.
  2 Donna _ correspondence, 1985.
  3 Doyle, Erin, correspondence, 1987-1990.
  4 Eastern European Programs Division for the U.S.S.R. correspondence, 1985.
  5 Ethnicity & Identity coconference, Author's Literary Passport, [ca. 1982].
  6 Gunnars, Kristjana, correspondence, 1983-1991.
  7 Harper's Magazine correspondence, 1979-1980.
  8 Harras, Tony, correspondence, 1989.
  9 Health Problems, 1988-1991.
  10 Hillis, Doris, correspondence, 1985-1988.
  11 Hylund, Gary correspondence, 1977-1989.
  12 "Indeo - Wood Mountain Stampede - Intertribal" - agreement, 1990
  13 Ivanocko, Bob & Liz, correspondence, 1981-1991.
  14 Kroetsch, Robert, correspondence, 1979-1986.
  15 Kuchmij, Halya, correspondence, 1980.
  16 Lane, Patrick, correspondence, 1981.
  17 Lakir, Vicki, correspondence, 1985-1988.
  18 Laurence, Margaret, correspondence to, 1977-1986.
  19 Lee, David, correspondence, 1983-1990.
  20 Lee, Dennis correspondence, 1978-1985.
  21 Lee, Pauline, (sister), 1983-1992.
  22 Letters to the editor 1969-1982.
  23 Literary agent correspondence, 1989.
  24 Little, Herbert, correspondence, 1989-1990.
  25 Livesay, Dorothy, correspondence to, 1977.
  26 Longview, Ian, correspondence, 1985.
  27 Lunatic Gazette, correspondence, 1982.
  28 MacMillan of Canada, 1977-1981.
Box Folder  
4 1 Mandel, Eli, correspondence, 1978-1991.
  2 Marty, Sid & Myrna, correspondence, 1977-1983.
  3 Marty, Sid & Myrna, correspondence, 1984-1992.
  4 McKinnon, Barry, correspondence, 1977-1989.
  5 Melnyk, George, correspondence, 1977-1988.
  6 Mende, Gunter, correspondence, 1981-1990.
  7 Mecredi, April, correspondence, 1978.
  8 Morgan, Dawn, correspondence, 1982-1989.
  9 Morrissette, George & Hunter, Catherine, correspondence, 1980-1991.
  10 Mum's the Word, submissions for a proposed book of poem recipes, 1989.
  11 National Film Board correspondence, 1977-1985.
  12 Newlove, John correspondence, 1982-1988.
  13 NeWest Press correspondence, 1982-1985.
  14 Third Annual NeWest Art Forum, 1982.
  15 Noble, Charles correspondence, 1984-1985.
  16 Olito, Mike, correspondence, 1979-1985.
Box Folder  
5 1 Olito, Mike, correspondence, 1986-1991.
  2 Permission to copy correspondence, 1977-1991.
  3 Personal poverty, 1991-1992.
  4 Piffer, Phil, correspondence, 1982-1991.
  5 Prairie Fire, correspondence, 1984-1987.
  6 Purdy, Al, correspondence, 1977-1985.
  7 Reading tours, 1978-1990.
  8 Reid, Monty, correspondence, 1984-1985.
  9 Royalties, 1978-1992.
  10 Sapergia, Barbara, correspondence, 1980.
  11 Saskatchewan Arts Board, 1987-1990.
  12 Saskatchewan Talent Program, 1988-1989.
  13 Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, 1983-1991.
  14 Social Services Moose Jaw, 1988.
  15 Soparlo, Lee & Marie, correspondence, 1977-1991.
  16 Sorestad, Glen, correspondence, 1977-1984.
  17 Sorestad, Glen, correspondence, 1985-1991.
Box Folder  
6 1 Spak, Harvey, correspondence, 1977-1983.
  2 Spak, Harvey, correspondence, 1984-1991.
  3 Sproxton, Birk, correspondence, 1977-1985.
  4 Stapleton, Steve, correspondence, 1983-1985.
  5 Stephan, (Scobie ?), correspondence, 1980.
  6 Suknaski, Julia (mother), coreespondence, 1964-1978.
  7 Suknaski, Louis, correspondence, 1987.
  8 Suknaski, Michael, correspondence, 1987.
  9 Suknaski's proposed trip to Ukraine, 1990.
  10 Taras Shevchenko Foundation, 1985-1986.
  11 Teichut, Valcorrespondence, 1983-1985.
  12 Thistledown Press Ltd. correspondence, 1983-1991.
  13 Turnstone Press Ltd. correspondence, 1983-1990.
  14 Tyson, Ian, correspondence, 1985.
  15 Taxation, 1980-1990.
  16 Ukrainian Opera Association correspondence, 1987.
  17 Ukrainian Poetry Symposium, Ottawa, 1985.
  18 University of Manitoba, 1989.
  19 Ursell, Geoffrey, correspondence, 1977-1987.
  20 "Working Dreamer", Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, C.B.C. Achievers Show Collaboration with Pat Cook, 1980-1982.
  21 Writer-In-Residence at St. John's College, 1977-1978.
  22 Wolfenden, Lianne, correspondence, 1970-1975.

Return to Top


Diaries & Notebooks 1975-1992

Box Folder  
7 1 Diary, 1975. 
  2 Diary, 1976.
  3 Diary, 1976-1977.
  4 Diary, 1977-1978.
  5 Diary, 1978.
Box Folder  
8 1 Diary, 1979
  2 Diary, 1980
  3 Diary, 1981
  4 Diary, 1981-1982
Box Folder  
9 1 Diary/Notebook, 1982-1983.
  2 Notebooks, 1983.
  3 Notebook, 1985.
  4 Diary, 1986.
  5 Diary/ Notebook, 1985-1986.
  6 Diary, 1987.
  7 Diary, 1988.
Box Folder  
10 1 Diary/Notebook, 1988.
  2 Diary, 1989.
  3 Diary/ Notebook, 1989.
  4 Diary notes, 1990.
  5 Diary, 1990.
  6 Diary/ Notebook, 1990-1991
  7 Diary, 1991.
  8 Diary, 1991-1992.

Return to Top