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Dr. Wilfred Watson

Click on Wilfred's picture for a bio. and some links. Click for Bio and Links.

Marshall McLuhan introduced me to Wilfred Watson, and his wife Sheila when I started my graduate work at the University of Alberta. He had been close friends with the Watsons since the early 60s.

Wilfred is an important Canadian poet and playwright. His collection of poems, Friday's Child. published in the 50s by Faber and Faber with jacket notes by T.S.Eliot, received the Governor General's Award for Poetry. Wilfred had several major productions of his plays done. Many at the University of Alberta, but also at other Canadian venues.

Wilfred and I have in common, among other things, our great love of theatre. I had the privilege of working on several of his plays in the 1960s, sometimes as actor or stage manager, and sometimes as director. In particular I directed a very special play called Up Against the Wall, Oedipus (originally, Soul is my Button). It was a very experimental production. A good third of it was film shot for a round screen, and projected into the pupil of a great eye on the back of the stage. Slides were used as well. The film part was directed by Dieter Nachtigal. The whole thing was written up in Arts Canada of November, 1971.

So I learned a lot about theatre from Wilfred, but I also learned about WIT as in sharpness of mind, and multiple dimensions and meanings of words. Some of that I learned through directing his plays, but mostly through studying with him the seventeenth century metaphysiocal poets, especially Donne. Wilfred also shared the brilliance and wildness of his IMAGINATION. It was, in fact, truly overwhelming, and somehow gave permission to one's own imagination to throw off its fetters, and explore itself freely and fully. Also, Wilfred was deeply respectful to his students, and was as desirous to learn from them as to share his own knowledge and deep understanding with them. Wilfred was a good friend to any student who wanted to learn.

Dr. Sheila Watson Dr. Marshall McLuhan