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Victor Coleman fonds. - 1962-1992. - 7.5 m of textual record.

Biographical Sketch

Poet, editor, audio producer and founding member of numerous publications and artist-run centres, Victor Coleman was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1944. He is regarded as one of the essential "architects" of the new wave modernist literary scene. Self-educated, he entered the book trade as a production assistant for Oxford University Press in Toronto. In 1965, he founded Island magazine and Island Press. He joined the Coach House Press in 1965 as a linotype operator and delivery boy and succeeded Wayne Clifford as editor in 1966, where he remained until 1974. He was instrumental in initiating numerous periodicals such as Is, Image Nation, the Goose & Duck, Open Letter and the Coach House Newsletter. He introduced educational activities such as the Rochdale Poetry workshops, Coach House writing workshops and The Dream Class.

As director of "A Space" (1975-1978), Coleman ventured beyond literature into performance art, new music, choreography, design and arts criticism. The artist-run centre "31 Mercer" (1979-80) succeeded "A Space" and produced several publications while sponsoring readings, exhibitions, dance, text-related performance and high-profile social events. The journal Eternal Network resulted in 12 publications between 1975 and 1979 and six new titles since 1991.

Coleman was involved in founding ANNPAC (Association of National Non-Profit Artist-run Centres) and, as of 1991, was involved in organizing a new Canadian small press association. He directed and programmed the National Film Theatre at Queen's University where he taught creative writing, set up exhibitions, organized a Poetry Front reading series and produced a bi-annual student publication. He has published several volumes of poetry and has been included in anthologies of Canadian poetry. Coleman has contributed to the development of avant-garde or post-modernist writing and to the development of a literary community in Canada.

Scope and Content

The Victor Coleman fonds is a comprehensive archive of his prolific involvement in many activities and institutions, and thus provides an invaluable record of a dynamic period in Canadian culture. The fonds is central to the study of the small press in Canada, as well as, the development of performance art, community interactive artist-run centres, and the poetry reading series in Toronto. It includes correspondence; manuscripts and typescripts of films, radio, video and performance pieces; also included are archives of various publications owned or edited by Coleman and notebooks.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from Victor Coleman in 1992. [1992-24]

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: some restrictions on access.

Finding Aid: preliminary listing available.

Related Records Different Fonds: Coach House Press fonds LMS-0129 [1986-04, 1987-13, 1992-07, 1996-12].

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