Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground contains thirty-five of F.R. Scott's poems from across the five decades of his career. Scott's artistic responses to a litany of social problems, as well as his emphasis on nature and landscapes, remain remarkably relevant. Scott weighed in on many issues important to Canadians today, using different terms, perhaps, but with no less urgency than we feel now: biopolitics, neoliberalism, environmental concerns, genetic modification, freedom of speech, civil rights, human rights, and immigration. Scott is best remembered for "The Canadian Authors Meet," "W.L.M.K," and "Laurentian Shield," but his poetic oeuvre includes significant occasional poems, elegies, found poems, and pointed satires. This selection of poems showcases the politics, the humour, and the beauty of this central modernist figure. The introduction by Laura Moss and the afterword by George Elliott Clarke provide two distinct approaches to reading Scott's work: in the contexts of Canadian modernism and of contemporary literary history, respectively.
Born in 1899 in Quebec City, Francis Reginald (Frank) Scott was a public poet, an accomplished editor and mentor of a generation of writers, an influential professor of constitutional law, and a founding member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). Emerging as one of the "Montreal Group" of modernist poets of the 1920s, Scott spent the next five decades writing poetry and working to transform both Canadian poetics and politics. With a penchant for satire, Scott's work is sometimes playful and witty and sometimes gravely concerned with the legacies of political ineptitude and the fragility of both humanity and the environment. Laura Moss is a member of the English Department at the University of British Columbia, and is on the editorial boards of ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature and Studies in Canadian Literature . She edited Frances Brookeas The History of Emily Montague , and her articles on international authors have appeared in journals and books. George Elliott Clarke is the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. An expert in African-Canadian literature, he published the foundational work in the field, Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature , in 2002. Named a Trudeau Foundation Fellow in 2005, Clarke is also a revered poet, librettist, and novelist. For his collection Execution Poems , he received the Governor Generalas Award for Poetry in 2001. His bestselling poetry-novel, Whylah Falls , is a major text in Canadian literature.