It is with deep regret that
the Department of English announces the death of Wynne Francis, at the
age of 81.
Professor Francis began her career at Sir George Williams in 1942 and
taught at Concordia until 1991. During her years at Sir George, she worked
tirelessly on behalf of Canadian modernist poetry, poetry which remains
closely associated with Montreal.
While many of the finest poets of the period, among them Frank Scott and
A.J.M. Smith, began writing at McGill, Wynne Francis was particularly
interested in the careeer of Irving Layton and in the development of little
magazines as a natural venue for young poets just starting careers.
Today, Professor Francis legacy is maintained and her name is honoured
with the annual Wynne Francis Award for Graduate Study in Canadian Poetry.
A memorial service is planned for Monday, October 2, at 2 p.m.
in the downtown Faculty Club.
- Professor Laura Groening
From Montreal Poets of the Forties, by Wynne Francis (Canadian Literature,
During the war years, Stanley
Street was the centre of Montreals little bohemia. In
the section of Stanley between Sherbrooke and St. Catherine Streets stood
a row of disreputable old tenements. Cheap rooms, blind pigs, private
gambling clubs, bookies and numerous other nefarious enterprises thrived
here. It used to be said that if you pushed the right buzzer and knew
the password you could get anything illegal that you wanted at any time
of day or night in that block. Shuttered and draped, the upper windows
gave away no secrets. At street level shoe shine parlours, cheap restaurants,
Jewish tailors and Chinese laundries crowded together, each blistering
with bilingual signs. And up and down the sidewalk, catching soldiers
and tourists like flies, strolled the girls, ignoring the complaints of
the YMCA authorities across the street. Painters and writers were to be
found spotted through the tenements, in attics, in basements and in the
back rooms of shops. The rent was cheap, the location central, the bookstores,
art galleries and universities within walking distance.