Unrau John

Born in 1941 in Saskatoon; educated in Saskatchewan and Alberta (B.A., Alberta, 1962). Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, 1962-65, receiving D.Phil. there in 1969 with a thesis on John Ruskin's architectural writings and drawings. Published Looking at Architecture with Ruskin (1978) and Ruskin and St. Mark's (1984), both with Thames and Hudson (U.K). The Balancings of the Clouds: Paintings of Mary Klassen, was published by Windflower of Winnipeg in 1991. Began writing poetry in his mid-40s and published first collection, Iced Water, with Salmon Poetry of Ireland in 2000. He is Professor of English in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies at York University, where he teaches courses mainly on 19th and 20th century literature and directs the Canadian Writers in Person reading series.

Awards
Rhodes Scholarship, 1962-65
Canada Council Doctoral Scholarship, 1965-69
Many SSHRC Research Grants and Fellowships, 1971-86

Selected Publications
Looking at Architecture with Ruskin (Thames & Hudson, 1978) ISBN 0-50034075-7
Ruskin and St. Mark's (Thames & Hudson, 1984) ISBN 0-500-01328-4
The Balancings of the Clouds (Windflower, 1991) ISBN 1-895308-05-4
Iced Water (Poems) (Salmon Poetry, Ireland, 2000) ISBN 1-903392-00-4

John Unrau, junrau@yorku.ca

Poet in the School
(Toronto)
phone 416-736-2100 ext. 33893

Born in 1941 in Saskatoon; educated in Saskatchewan and Alberta (B.A., Alberta, 1962). Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, 1962-65, receiving D.Phil. there in 1969 with a thesis on John Ruskin's architectural writings and drawings. Published Looking at Architecture with Ruskin (1978) and Ruskin and St. Mark's (1984), both with Thames and Hudson (U.K). The Balancings of the Clouds: Paintings of Mary Klassen, was published by Windflower of Winnipeg in 1991. Began writing poetry in his mid-40s and published first collection, Iced Water, with Salmon Poetry of Ireland in 2000. He is Professor of English in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies at York University, where he teaches courses mainly on 19th and 20th century literature and directs the Canadian Writers in Person reading series.

Grade Levels: High School / OAC

Fees: standard

Classroom Approach:
Similar to that used in my Canadian Writers in Person and English Poetry courses for first year undergrads. I emphasize the importance of hearing the poem; encourage students to register and explore their own responses rather than worrying about what "experts"/literary theorists might want. I don't believe there can be expertise in poetry - only the capacity to be infected by the rhythm, tone, imagery employed. The following quotes suggest my attitude:

"He knows everything about literature except how to enjoy it." (Heller, Catch 22);

"To know how cherries and strawberries taste, ask children and birds." (Goethe);

"Poems are like dreams; in them you put what you don't know you know." (Adrienne Rich);

"There can hardly be anything more impertinent than lecturing people on a book to interpret it to them. The only valid thing one may interpret is one's own reactions." (Patrick Kavanagh).