Mike Doyle

Floating Islands: A Writer's Early Life previousnext Ekstasis Editions

Mike Doyle has lived in Victoria, BC for nearly half a century; a longtime Canadian citizen, as a poet he considers himself ‘cosmopolitan.’ He is also a biographer, critic and editor. Floating Islands tells the story of his Irish family background, his childhood and youth in London, England, during the 1930s Depression and the Second World War, through the blitz and the flying bombs. At age fourteen, he discovered his gift for poetry and decided to make it his life’s ambition. At 17, as a high school dropout, he joined the British Royal Navy. At 21 he was posted to Wellington, New Zealand. Two years later, his first serious poems were published in the quarterly Landfall. After naval service, he trained as a teacher and took a series of degrees leading eventually to a lectureship at Auckland University. His first poetry collection, A Splinter of Glass (1956) received several awards, including a UNESCO International Artist’s Fellowship, which enabled him to spend months travelling in the United States with the object of meeting American writers.
Intended as a ‘warts and all’ rather than a back-patting life story, Floating Islands deals with events up to the point when a Fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies enabled Doyle to spend a year as a visiting fellow in American Studies at Yale University, during which he wrote a book on the career of American poet William Carlos Williams and the book-length poem sequence, Earth Meditations, which later became his first Canadian book, published by Coach House Press, Toronto, in 1971.

Mike Doyle is a poet, critic, biographer and editor. His other work includes William Carlos Williams and the American Poem (1982), Richard Aldington: A Biography (1989), Paper Trombones (2007) and its follow-ups Softwood Trumpets (2012) and Riding the Pig (2014), a journal of his life as a poet in Canada, and Intimate Absences (1993), a “Selected Poems” from work up to that date. Ekstasis Editions published his Collected Poems 1951-2009 in 2010. He has also published critical essays on Williams, Wallace Stevens, H.D., Irving Layton, Al Purdy and others. He has received a UNESCO Creative Artist’s Fellowship, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, and a Jessie Mackay (PEN) Award for Poetry. He wrote his book on Williams while a visiting Research Fellow of American Studies at Yale University. Doyle has lived in Victoria for over forty years and is a Canadian citizen of long standing.

ISBN 978-1-77171-099-2
240 pages
5.5 x 8.5
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