University of Calgary

Christopher Wiseman

  • Professor Emeritus


BA- Cambridge University
MA- Cambridge University
PhD- University of Strathclyde 

Professional Description

I came to the University of Calgary in 1969 primarily to teach Modern Literature, especially British, but I ended up teaching a wide variety of courses at all levels in British, American and Canadian lit. I agitated for Creative Writing to be included in the syllabus, and taught first non-credit then credit classes in Creative Writing at all levels, including my supervising the first PhD thesis in Creative Writing in non-Quebec Canada. Credit courses in Poetry writing started in 1973 and, when W.P.Kinsella was appointed, Fiction in 1977. Creative Writing became highly successful, and was constantly expanded to include 300,400,500 and 600-level offerings, with concentration on Creative Writing for English students with sufficient talent. From 1970 to 2011, ex-students of mine at the U. of C. have published at least 130 books, three have won Governor Generals Awards, two Marian Engel Awards, and Writers Guild of Alberta Awards, three more have been shortlisted for GG awards. This program has rightly been named an area of excellence in the university. I also taught courses in Contemporary Literature, both British and Canadian, Poetry and Poetics from 200 to 500-levels, and various other courses. I was poetry editor of ARIEL for 21 years, poetry editor of Dandelion , which was founded by students of mine, contributing editor of Books in Canada, and Supervisor  of dozens of MA, PhD, and Honours Projects, theses on poetry, fiction, opera, screenplay, Creative Writing, and guest examiner for various other Departments. I was the first to teach regularly in the evenings and, at times, at weekends, to make English Dept. offerings more flexible for students. Concerned with the way both Creative Writing and English courses were going – towards theoretical approaches and cultural studies respectively – I took early retirement in 1997. I divide my time between Calgary, the USA and Britain, and still write. I miss students but not marking freshman essays, committee meetings, nor the gradual wearing lowering of morale. I have given well over 200 readings in the UK, US, and from coast to coast in Canada, and taught at the Banff Centre’s Writing courses several times. I have frequently served on various Alberta Juries, and juries for the Canada Council, in Ontario and League of Canadian Poets, and was founding Vice-President and later President of the Writers Guild of Alberta.


I have published ten full-length books of poetry, one critical book on Edwin Muir, several chapbooks, many scholarly articles, ranging from studies of Muir, Canadian poets and poetry to Indian poetry, interviews with poets, interviews with myself, scores of reviews ranging from Elvis Presley to you name it, poetry in scores of journals in various countries, had my work broadcast nationally by the CBC, BBC, NPR, and many local radio and TV stations.

Honours & Awards

Three Fellowships at U. of Iowa Writers Workshop, Teaching Excellence Award at UofC, Alberta Culture Award for Poetry (twice), Alberta Achievement Award for Excellence in Literary Arts, Hawthornden Fellowship, SSHRC Award, various AFLA and AFA grants,

many Canada Council readings, the W.O.Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize, Board Member for Alberta Foundation for Literary Arts,  winner and, twice, shortlisted for Writers Guild of Alberta Stephan G. Stephansson Poetry Award, one of 3 shortlisted for first Grant MacEwan Alberta Literary Award, invested into the Order of Canada for services (teaching and writing) to Creative Writing in Canada.

Classes Taught (1969- 1997)- Short Selection

English 200/240, 202, 231, 233, 235, 237, 354, 364, 494, 594, various other classes at both undergraduate and graduate level on modern and contemporary literature in all genres.

Photograph of Christopher Wiseman
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