Fonds F0125 - Don Coles fonds

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Don Coles fonds

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  • Textual record
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Physical description

4.94 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Donald Langdon Coles (1927-2017), poet, author and educator, was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1928 and received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Toronto in 1949 and 1953. He received an M.A. from Cambridge University in 1955, following which he lived for ten years in continental Europe. From 1965 to 1996, Coles was a professor of humanities and creative writing at York University in Toronto, Canada. He was the Poetry Editor of "The May Studio" for the Banff Centre for the Fine Arts from 1984 to 1993 and is the author of over eight books of poetry of his own. His collection "Forests of the medieval world" (1993) was awarded the Governor-General's Award for Poetry. He received the Trillium Book Award for his collection "Kurgan". His poem "Driving in the car with her" was included in the Arvon International Poetry Competition Anthology. He is also the author of the novel "Doctor Bloom's story." "How we all swiftly," an anthology of his first six books of poetry, was published in 2006; an autobiographical work entitled "A dropped glove in Regent Street" appeared in 2007 and a collection of poetry, "Where we might have been," was published in 2010. Don Coles died on 29 November 2017.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of personal and professional correspondence including correspondence with fellow writers such as John Metcalf, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Robyn Sarah, Adele Wiseman and Ralph Gustafson among others, academic and teaching files that document his career as a student at the University of Toronto and Cambridge and professorial files for courses taught at York University. It also includes editorial files that document his work with fellow poets at The Banff Centre for the Fine Arts and writing files including notes, drafts and manuscripts related to his own publications. Accession 2011-032 includes correspondence from Northrop Frye giving Coles advice about an academic career, book reviews written by Coles for "The Globe and mail" from the 1970s to 2001, seminar notes for the Humanities course, "Works & days," reviews of his writing, and drafts of the book of poetry, "Where we might have been" (2010).

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Don Coles in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and by Heidi Coles in 2018.


Fonds has been arranged in five series.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Swedish

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Restrictions on access

Access is generally open. See series-level descriptions for access restrictions on individual files.

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Associated materials

Books inscribed to Don Coles have been cataloged as part of Special Collections.

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The fonds comprises the following accessions: 1996-017, 1997-003, 1999-017, 2000-054, 2001-035, 2002-044, 2004-001, 2005-033, 2007-006, 2008-005, 2009-007, 2011-032, 2018-022.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2002/04/04 Jizi Chen:. (Creation)
2002/04/04 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2006/08/31 Sean Smith. Edited fonds and series level descriptions.
2006/09/14 Authority Note and accruals information amended.
2007/02/07 Sean Smith. Updated description to include 2007-006.
2010/03/26 Dubeau. Updated to include accessions 2008-005 and 2009-007.
2012/02/03 Michael Moir. Updated to include accession 2011-032
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM
2018/12/12 J. Grant. Post-migration metadata clean-up. Added 2018-022 accession.

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