I could not have undertaken or compiled this edition of The Emigrant without the initial confidence and consistent encouragement of David Bentley, Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario; our conversations have not only illuminated specific passages within the poem but have helped me to articulate the place The Emigrant deserves within the tradition of early Canadian poetry. Michael Williams, former research assistant in the Centre for Canadian Poetry at the University of Western Ontario, cast crucial light on the identity of Standish O’Grady by finding a hitherto unknown obituary, and his determined excavation of newspapers and other documents of the day, as well as his freely-offered interpretation of difficult passages, made his contribution to the present volume a formidable one. The processing and proof-reading of Carolyn Quick and Pamela Jeffery provided me with an ideal working copy of the poem, and Denise Heffron and Michael Williams have done great work in seeing the edition through the computer in the final stages of its production. To these people, and to R.J. Shroyer, whose computing skills and endless patience have made The Emigrant and other Canadian Poetry Press books possible, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude.
The final stages of this edition were completed while I enjoyed the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and of the Webster Fellowships Committee at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario; both agencies deserve special thanks. Librarians in the Reference Department of the Weldon Library at the University of Western Ontario were unstintingly generous with their time, and opened u a world of nineteenth-century documentation which without them would have remained bewildering.
My final and warmest gratitude goes to my wife, Tori, who has lived with Standish O’Grady more patiently than I. [page ix]