Duncan Campbell Scott

Addresses‚ Essays‚ and Reviews

My Best Piece of Work


I am asked to say what I consider my best work, or my best book, and why. I have only a few books and the question is narrowed to preference for my verse or my prose. There was a time when I looked forward to being a writer of prose, but that time was short. My method of work and the hours at my disposal decided against that medium and I gradually fell into the practise of writing poems when I felt inclined. I still have a cordial feeling for those of my short stories which deal with Canadian life in remote parts of the country and I sometimes wish that I had pursued that line and used fully a fund of information and experience and sympathy which I have hardly drawn upon.
     Dealing with my poems, while I am pleased with some of the lyrics that wrote themselves, as it were, I hold with Ben Johnson [sic] that "it is only the disease of the unskillful to think rude things greater than polished," and I therefore set store by poems whose provenance I can remember in small beginning and whose growth I can recall as being gradual. I mean such poems as "The Height of Land" or "Lines in Memory of Edmund Morris" or "Variations on a Seventeenth Century Theme." But, on reflection, I would like to forget my own preferences and to say that if any of my work may be remembered for a while I wish that Canadians might remember the things I have written about the aspect and charm of this land of ours, for I am a Canadian to the marrow of my bones and would desire to promote in the minds and the hearts of Canadians a love for the beauty of the Canadian scene. [page 381]


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