John Sutherland (1919-1956). Courtesy Trent University.

John Sutherland (February 21, 1919 - September 1, 1956) was a Canadian poet, literary critic, and magazine editor.[1]


Hurtig was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.[1] His mother died of tuberculosis in 1926; he and his sister, Betty, lived with their grandparents at Lockport, Nova Scotia until 1930, when their father remarried and they rejoined him in Saint John, New Brunswick.[2]

Sutherland attended Queen's University, Kingston, 1939-1940, but had to drop out when he was also diagnosed with tuberculosis. After recovering, he studied English literature at McGill University in 1942.[2]

Although Sutherland published numerous poems of his own, he was perhaps better known as the founder and editor of two important Canadian literary magazines, First Statement and Northern Review.[3] Sutherland founded First Statement in Montreal in 1942,[1] after some of his poems were rejected by modernist poetry magazine Preview.[4]

He married poetry editor Audrey Aikman on September 27, 1943.[2]

First Statement published until 1945; it then merged with Preview to form Northern Review, the first issue of which appeared in 1946.[1] The Preview half of the editorial board resigned in 1947, after Sutherland gave a bad review to the Poems of Robert Finch. However, Sutherland, Aikman, and his sister Betty continued to publish Northern Review for the next 10 years, until his death.[2]

Sutherland also published one of the first critical studies of the poetry of E.J. Pratt, as well as the anthology Other Canadians: An anthology of new poetry in Canada, 1940-1946, a collection of Canadian modernist poetry.[3]

Sutherland was also instrumental in exposing the poetry of Irving Layton to a wider audience, thanks to the Sutherland-owned First Statement Press, the small press that issued Layton's first book, Here and Now.[3]

Shortly before his death, Sutherland converted to Catholicism, which informed his book on Pratt. He died of cancer in Toronto.[1]



  • The Poetry of E.J. Pratt: A new interpretation. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1956.

Collected editionsEdit


  • Other Canadians: Anthology of the new poetry in Canada, 1940-1946. Montreal: First Statement Press, 1947.


  • Letters (edited by Bruce Whiteman). Toronto: ECW Press, 1992.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Peter Stevens, John Sutherland, Canadian Encyclopedia. Edmonton, AB: Hurtig, 1988, 2100. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John Sutherland, New Brunswick Literary Encylopedia, St. Thomas University. Web, Aug. 18, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "John Sutherland," Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada (edited by W.H. New). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002: 1079-80. Print.
  4. "First Statement," Wikipedia. Web, Mar. 25, 2001
  5. Search results = au:John Sutherland, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Aug. 18, 2016.

External linksEdit


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