Karl Siegler remembers Jamie Reid

Jamie Reid: In Memoriam April 10, 1941—June 25, 2015

Within our generation, one person deserves to be immortalized as a tireless and unwavering champion of liberty, equality and fraternity; a beacon anchored against the always seductively raging deep of the politically correct: Jamie Reid.

His brilliant early poems quite literally “took our breath away”: they seemed to perfectly articulate the spirit of the world that moved within us, but for which we ourselves could find no words.

So soon Jamie begin to tell, rather than to show us what bpNichol called “the one path, the true path,” by writing what he himself would later call “cant” (a great pun), as if the human imagination could be encompassed within the margins of ideology.

But over years of hard labour, he came to know that it is the dialectic within us that is the root of civilization—that there is no such thing as “the people.” So he returned, showing us again through the beauty of his words and deeds, the glory of the human condition.

No words characterize his spirit better than those he used to describe both Nellie McClungs: “a fearless openness, a deep inner innocence, a fabulous courage in following the course of [his] own vision and destiny.”

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