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September 28, 2000 In Memoriam: Wynne Francis



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, Autumn 1962):

During the war years, Stanley Street was the centre of Montreal’s “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.








Copyright 2000, Concordia University