The fonds includes worksheets, manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks and reading copies for all of Webb's poetry and prose; drafts and correspondence from her CBC work; the correspondence with poets and tabulation of a poetry publishing survey "The Poet and the Publisher"; work as a poetry editor and teacher; writing travel (including a diary written while she was in London, England); correspondence with family and friends, correspondence with publishers, professional activities (including her work with Amnesty International) and copies of works by other writers; photographs of Webb, as well as her friends and family; posters and recordings of literary events and memorabilia from childhood. Includes as well, correspondence and background material relating to Wilson Duff and Lilo Berliner and diaries of Lilo Berliner. Also includes images of Webb's paintings.
Webb, Phyllis, 1927-: Poet Phyllis Webb was born in Victoria, British Columbia on April 8, 1927. She attended Saint Margaret¿s Girls¿ School in Victoria where she began writing poetry. She studied English literature and Philosophy at the University of British Columbia (1945-1949). At UBC her professors Earle Birney and Roy Daniells as well as her introduction to Canadian literature in first year English were critical in her turn toward poetry. Webb ran in the 1949 Provincial election for the C.C.F. in Oak Bay. She was the youngest candidate ever to run, although she did not win the seat. Through involvement in the C.C.F. she met poet and law professor F.R. Scott. In 1950 Webb moved to Montreal where she worked as a secretary at MacDonald College and took courses at McGill University. During this period she became involved in a literary circle that included Scott, Louis Dudek, Eli Mandel, Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton and others who established a number of important ¿little magazines¿ and presses, participating in a renewal within Canadian literature. Webb also devised a questionnaire about poets¿ experiences with publishers, sending it to nineteen poets. She presented the results fist as a seminar paper then an article ¿The Poet and the Publisher¿ (published in Queen¿s Quarterly, 1954-1955) and she delivered her findings at the Canadian Writers Conference at Queen¿s University in July 1955. These finding were debated at the conference and incorporated in the recommendations to form the Canada Council in 1957. In 1951, Webb worked in London, England as a secretary at the London School of Economics and Webb later returned to London, where she worked for CBC radio as a reporter and reviewer from 1954 to 1955, and she also visited Ireland. In 1957-1959, Webb lived in Paris through the Canadian Government Overseas Award program. Returning to Canada in 1959, she taught English literature at the University of British Columbia for four years (1960-1963) and continued to write for the CBC on a freelance basis. She played an important role in the 1963 International Poetry Conference at UBC which brought the Black Mountain poets Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Allen Ginsberg to Vancouver and had a major impact on West Coast poets, particularly the TISH group (George Bowering, Frank Davey, Lionel Kearns, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah). In 1963-1964 she travelled to New York and San Francisco on a Canada Council Junior Art Award. Webb moved to Toronto in 1964, where she became a program organizer in the public affairs department first running ¿University of the Air¿ and then creating the CBC radio program "Ideas" with Bill Young, eventually becoming its executive producer. She also produced a centennial project for television: Modern Canadian Poets featuring twenty-six poets in thirteen episodes. She travelled to Russia in 1969. Receiving a Canada Council Senior Arts Grant in 1970, Webb resigned from the CBC and returned to the West Coast and settled on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. She has lived there almost continuously since. Webb also taught intermittently at UBC, the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta and the Banff Centre. Webb¿s first publication in 1954, "Trio: First Poems" included her poems alongside those by Gael Turnbull and Eli Mandel. This was followed by Even Your Right Eye (1956), The Sea is Also a Garden (1962) and Naked Poems (1965) a book designed by Takao Tanabe. Webb¿s first Selected Poems: 1954-1965 appeared in 1971 to very positive reviews. Although hailed by Northrop Frye as a ¿landmark in Canadian literature,¿ Wilson¿s Bowl (1980) was not considered for the Governor General¿s Award. This caused outcry among many of Webb¿s contemporaries and younger poets (including Atwood, Ondaatje, Page and b.p. nichol) who raised money and send it to Webb as a ¿response to [her] whole body of work as well as to [her] presence as a touchstone of true, good writing in Canada.¿ The following year (1982), The Vision Tree: Selected Poems (her second selected edition) won the Governor General¿s Literary Award for poetry. Webb began experimenting with ghazal form after reading John Thompson¿s Stilt Jack. This exploration resulted in Sunday Water: Thirteen Anti-Ghazals (1982) and then Water and Light: Ghazals and Anti Ghazals (1984). Hanging Fire (1990) is her last collection of new poems. Webb has also produced two books of prose: Talking (1982), and Nothing But Brush Strokes: Selected Prose (1995). Webb¿s work is known for its feminism, concern with questions of political power and imprisonment and its formal innovations. Webb¿s poetry has been widely anthologized, and she has contributed articles and reviews to various prominent publications and held readings across Canada. In 1990 she received the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Webb was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992. In 1993, after feeling she had come to the end of writing poetry, she began painting and collage. Since that time she produced one poem ¿Maureen Reading¿ for Maureen Scobie (a friend who died in 2001). In 2002 Phyllis Webb Elemental exhibition was held at the National Library of Canada. Webb was also the subject of a full-length critical study by Pauline Butling, Seeing in the Dark: the Poetry of Phyllis Webb, an annotated bibliography by Cecilia Frey, a festschrift issue of West Coast Line (number 25/3) and Phyllis Webb and her Works by John Hulcoop. Webb narrated the 2013 film by Robert McTavish The Line Has Shattered about the 1963 International Poetry Conference at UBC. In 2014, Peacock Blue: the Collected Poems (edited by Hulcoop) was published. A launch at the Vancouver International Writers Festival featured other writers reading poems by Webb and recordings from her archives. A reading on Salt Spring Island together with Brian Brett in April 2015 marked her first poetry reading for many years.