Patricia Kathleen Page
Biography of Patricia Kathleen Page
Patricia Kathleen Page (November 23, 1916 – January 14, 2010), commonly known as P. K. Page, was a Canadian poet. She was the author of over 30 published books: of poetry, fiction, travel diaries, essays, children's books, and an autobiography.
By special resolution of the United Nations, in 2001 Page's poem "Planet Earth" was read simultaneously in New York, the Antarctic, and the South Pacific to celebrate the International Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.
She was also known as a visual artist, who exhibited her work as P.K. Irwin at a number of venues in and out of Canada. Her works are in permanent collections of National Gallery of Canada and Art Gallery of Ontario.
P.K. Page was born in Swanage, Dorset, England and moved with her family to Canada in 1919. Page's parents moved her to Red Deer, Alberta in 1919, when she was only 3, and later to Calgary and Winnipeg. Page said her parents were creative, encouraging non-conformists who loved the arts, recited poetry and read to her. She credited her early interest in poetry to the rhythms she unconsciously imbibed as a child. A year in England when she was 17 opened her eyes to galleries, ballets and concerts.
Page "later moved to St. John, New Brunswick, where she worked as a shop assistant and radio actress during the late 1930s."
In 1941 Page moved to Montreal and came into contact with the Montreal Group of poets, which included A. M. Klein and F. R. Scott.
She became a founding member of Patrick Anderson's Preview magazine in 1942, and of its successor, Northern Review, in 1945. Some of her poetry appeared in the modernist anthology, Unit of Five, in 1944, along with poems by Louis Dudek, Ronald Hambleton, Raymond Souster, and James Wreford.
In 1944 she published a romantic novel, The Sun and the Moon, under the pseudonym Judith Cape. (The novel was reprinted in 1973, along with some of her short stories from the 1940s, as The Sun and the Moon and Other Fictions.)
Later she became a scriptwriter at Canada's National Film Board, where she met W. Arthur Irwin, a former editor of Maclean's magazine, whom she married in 1950. Following her marriage, "Page devoted her time to writing the poetry collection The Metal and the Flower (1954), for which she received a Governor General's Award."
Page travelled with her husband on his diplomatic postings to Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Guatemala. In Brazil and Mexico, not hearing the rhythms of spoken English, she said, "I had a long dry spell, so I started painting and keeping a journal," published as Brazilian Journal and illustrated with her own paintings. She began writing poetry again following her return to Canada in the mid 1960s.
Her visual art, under her married name as P. K. Irwin, is in galleries and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
She spent the last years of her life in Victoria, British Columbia.
Patricia Kathleen Page Poems
Remembering you and reviewing our structural love the past re-arises alive from its smothering dust.
The Blue Guitar
I do my best to tell it true a thing exceeding hard to do or tell it slant as Emily
The Blue Guitar
I do my best to tell it true
a thing exceeding hard to do
or tell it slant as Emily
advises in her poetry,
and, colour blind, how can I know
if green is blue or cinnabar.
Find me a colour chart that I
can check against a summer sky.
My eye is on a distant star.