Fonds 15-008 - Elizabeth (Betsy) Struthers fonds

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Elizabeth (Betsy) Struthers fonds

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  • 1958-2015 (Creation)
    Struthers, Elizabeth (Betsy)

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Physical description

.75 m of textual records and other materials

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Biographical history

Betsy (Elizabeth Jane) Porter was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1951. She received her BA in English in 1972 from Waterloo Lutheran University (which included one year at the University of Toronto on a Letter of Permission). She married James E. Struthers in 1971; they moved to Peterborough in 1977. She became involved in the literary life of the community as a committee member for the Peterborough County Board of Education Poetry Festival, 1985-1991, and especially as the founder in 1987 and first administrator of the Writers Reading Series at Trent University. She organized and hosted Poetry Month readings at various locations in Peterborough throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Since 1991, she has been a member of the informal Peterborough Women Writers’ Group, which presented a series of talks at the Peterborough Public Library in the winter of 1999-2000. She has also taught poetry workshops in many local schools, at Trent University and Fleming College. After serving as Chair of the Education Committee of the League of Canadian Poets, in which role she co-edited an anthology of essays on teaching poetry, and of the Feminist Caucus, she was President of the League from 1995 to 1997. Since the publication of her first collection of poetry in 1984, she has published nine books of poetry – Still won the 2004 Pat Lowther Award – three novels and a book of short fiction and has conducted workshops and read her work in cities and towns across Canada from Labrador to Victoria. A freelance editor of academic texts, she has worked for Peterborough-based Broadview Press since 1988 as well as other publishers, journals and individuals in Canada and the United States.

Custodial history

his fonds was created by and in the custody of Betsy Struthers before it was donated to the Trent University Archives in 2015.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of personal correspondence written by and to writer and editor Betsy Struthers concerning publications, teaching and editorial work. It also includes early unpublished and published poems and draft manuscripts, reviews and publicity for Censored Letters, Saying So Out Loud, Running Out of Time, Virgin Territory, Driven, Still, In Her Fifties, Where the Night Comes Closest, Relay, All That Desire: New and Selected Poetry, Found: A Body, Grave Deeds, A Studied Death, Poets in the Classroom and the chipbook, The Flood.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Fonds acquired from Betsy Struthers in 2015


Fonds was arranged by the donor. This arrangement, along with folder titles, has been maintained.

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General note

Outsized materials located in Large Materials Cabinet - Drawer 54

General note

We wish to acknowledge our appreciation to the donor for supplying a biography and file list.

General note

Poetry Books & Novels

Box 1


1: Biography, lists of publications and edited texts to 2014
2: First poems, 1958-1970
3: Early unpublished poems, 1977-1983 plus unpublished occasional poems, 1996-2011
4: Censored Letters and Saying So Out Loud: correspondence with Kenneth Sherman (editor), 1984-1987
5: Censored Letters and Saying So Out Loud: correspondence & contracts with Mosaic Press, 1984-1987
6: Censored Letters: correspondence: Dorothy Livesay, Gwendolyn MacEwan, 1984
7: Censored Letters and Saying So Out Loud: miscellaneous correspondence, 1984-1997
8: Censored Letters and Saying So Out Loud: reviews and readings 1984-1993
9: Censored Letters: Correspondence re: dramatization, 1991-1992
CBC Morningside Drama – Dave Carley – versions of scripts
10: Censored Letters: Music and Art: G.K. Wright, 1986 [score]; Doreen Balabanoff, 1997 [stained glass window]
11: Censored Letters: manuscript, rough draft and marked-up copy
12: Censored Letters: final manuscript
13: Censored Letters: critique of poems/manuscript: Richard Harrison and Gordon Johnston, ca. 1984
14: “Happy Families,” draft of Saying So Out Loud, book, and cover image (1988)
15: Running Out of Time: correspondence and contract with Wolsak & Wynn, 1992-1998
16: Running Out of Time: reviews, 1993-1996
17: Running Out of Time: drafts: “Signs of Perfection,” “Deliberate Invention of the Home”; drafts
18: Running Out of Time: final manuscript
19: Running Out of Time: Milton Acorn Memorial People’s Poetry Award, correspondence, 1989-1994, photographs (8)
20: Running Out Of Time: song “Letting Go”: Bob Wright, Ava Music, includes demo cassette tape, 1995
21: Running Out of Time: miscellaneous correspondence, 1988-1997
22: Virgin Territory: correspondence with Wolsak & Wynn, includes photograph contact sheet, contract, 1995-1999
23: Draft: “Question of Age”
24: Virgin Territory: final manuscript
25: Virgin Territory: reviews & publicity, photographs (2), 1996-2006
26: Driven: correspondence with publishers & Black Moss contract, 1999-2000
27: Driven: manuscript
28: Driven: reviews & publicity, photographs (4), 1997-2002
29: Still: correspondence, contract & publicity, 2001-2003
30: Still: manuscript
31: Still: rough drafts
32: Still: Lowther Award & reviews, 2004
33: In Her Fifties: correspondence, photographs (2), contract & publicity, 2003-2005
34: In Her Fifties: manuscript
35: Where the Night Comes Closest: correspondence, contract & publicity, 2005-2008
36: Where the Night Comes Closest: manuscript and changes
37: Relay: correspondence & contract, 2008-2010
38: Relay: manuscript
39: All That Desire: correspondence & contract, 2010-2012
40: All That Desire: manuscript
41: littlefishcartpress, The Flood: correspondence, contract, manuscript, 2005
42: Found: A Body: correspondence, contract, publicity, 1991-1993
43: Found: A Body: reviews, interviews, 1992-1993
44: Found: A Body: manuscript
45: Grave Deeds: correspondence, contract, publicity, reviews, 1993-1994
46: Grave Deeds: reviews, readings, interviews, 1994
47: Grave Deeds: “Dry Bones,” manuscript
48: A Studied Death: correspondence, contract, reviews, CD of manuscript, 1994-1995
49: Dundurn Press, correspondence, 1999-2010

Awards, Grants, Readings, Journal and Anthology Publications, Reviews, Poets in the Classroom, Workshops, Professional Associations & Work,
Editing and Other Jobs

Box 2


1: Awards (GritLit, CBC), 1983-2010
2: Grants, Canada Council, 1985-2011
3: Grant, External Affairs Travel Grant 1992, North Carolina tour & publicity
4: Grants, Ontario Arts Council, 1993-2010, photographs (2)
5: Miscellaneous correspondence re: poetry; includes letters from several noted authors, 1984-2007, photographs (2);
6: Readings, 1985-1993; includes 1 audio cassette titled “Betsy’s Interview CIUT, 23 November 1992” and “Interview 11 February 1993 MIX 99.9 FM”
7: Readings, 1998-2013
8: Journal publications, poems, 1978-1993
9: Journal publications, poems, 1994-2012
10: Journal publications, review essays, 1981-2000
11: Anthology publications, 1983-2013; 11a: box set of Convergence, Poems for Peace (2001)
12: Reviews, Canadian Book Review Annual, 1977-81
13: Reviews & interviews, Upstream, 1977
14: Miscellaneous letters of rejection with comments, 1980-1994
15: Poets in the Classroom: correspondence, 1 computer disk & 1 CD, 1991-1997
16: Workshops: Cobalt Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, 2008
17: Workshops: Thunder Bay, Sleeping Writers Festival, 2009
18: Workshops: Windsor Festival of the Book, 2004 & 2008
19: Workshops: Miscellaneous, include Labrador Creative Arts Festival, 1999
20: Workshop: Crime Writing, Halifax 1996
21: Workshops: Lessons & teaching material
22: Professional Association: League of Canadian Poets Feminist Caucus, 1992-1999
23: Professional Association: League of Canadian Poets, membership & presidency, 1984-2004
24: Professional Association: Access Copyright, 1990-2010
25: Professional Association: Crime Writers of Canada, Writers Union of Canada, 1989-2005
26: Professional Work: support & donations, 1984-2014
27: Professional Work: Who’s Who, literary bio sites, 1995-2015
28: Professional Work: juries, 1989-2015
29: Editing: Broadview, correspondence, 2001-2014
30: Editing: Broadview, some author comments, 2001-2009
31: Freelance editing, 2001-2013
32: Early Work (Peter Martin Associates, Clarke Irwin, Caplans), 1974-1980
33: Early Employment, 1976-1981
34: Kawartha Sun articles, 1982
35: Family Counseling Services, Peterborough, 1992

Peterborough and area:
Readings, workshops,
PCBE Festival of Poetry (1985-91),
Peterborough Women Writers’ Group
Trent University:
Conferences, Continuing Education,
Summer Explorations in Canadian Culture,
Writers Reading Series (1987-2009)

Box 3


1: Artspace & other community activities, including Peterborough Public Library, photographs (4), 1983-2005
2: Workshops at Fleming College, Crestwood, Bethany Hills, Learning in Leisure, 1985-2004
3: Peterborough County Board of Education Festival of Poetry, 1985-1991
4: Peterborough readings, including Poetry Month readings, 1980-2012
5: Peterborough area readings, includes Lakefield, Bridgenorth, Cobourg, Minden, Norwood, 2004-2012
6: Peterborough Women Writers’ Group, includes photographs (9), A Little History, and The Writers’ Forum, 1996-2011
7: Trent University: conferences & classes, 1981-2012; includes photographs (2) and CD titled “Extraordinary Presence: The Worlds of P.K. Page, 2002”
8: Trent University: Continuing Education workshops, 2003-2007
9: Trent University: Summer Explorations in Canadian Culture, photographs (6), 1998-2004
10: Trent University: Writers Reading Series, 1987-2009

Large Materials Cabinet – Drawer 54

Posters advertising readings by Betsy Struthers
Newspaper articles (laminated), 1992; 2005

Physical description

ca. 40 photographs, 1 audio cassette, 2 compact disks, and 1 computer disk

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