Greater Victoria residents are mourning the loss of renowned Canadian author and poet Patrick Lane.
His publisher McClelland and Stewart made the announcement of his death Thursday evening, calling him “one of Canada’s most renowned writers.”
We've just learned that the beloved poet and novelist, Patrick Lane has passed away. As @RogersShelagh said, #RestInPoetry, Patrick. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife Lorna Crozier, as well as their family and friends.
Thank you for sharing your words with us. pic.twitter.com/b95Qf4jpWu
— Wordfest (@WordfestTweets) March 7, 2019
Lane’s 25 volumes of poetry and books earned him almost every literary award in Canada, including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Canadian Authors Association Award, Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and three National Magazine Awards.
Born in Nelson, B.C., Lane harboured ambitions to be an artist as a child but found himself married with three children in his early twenties. Facing financial difficulties, he took jobs as a truck driver and worked in a sawmill, before summoning the courage to send some of his poems to a magazine. The editor of Canadian Forum magazine liked them so much he wrote an encouraging letter to Lane and published all of them.
After that moment, Lane decided to express his latent creativity through writing, rather than art and enjoyed a career spanning 50 years, which was crowned with the Order Of Canada, our country’s highest national honour.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of beloved writer Patrick Lane. Patrick will be remembered as a writer of enormous empathy and humanity, and we are fortunate to be able to continue to learn from him through his beautiful and wise books. pic.twitter.com/nKYmxD8NyW
— McClelland & Stewart (@McClellandBooks) March 8, 2019
Lane’s first collection Letters from a Savage Mind was published in 1966 and was followed by works including Calgary City Jail in 1969, Beware the Months of Fire in 1974, and Poems, New and Selected in 1978, which won him the Governor General’s Literary Award.
Lane was an icon within the Canadian literary world partly due to his work remaining relevant through the generations. He won the much coveted Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 1995 and his first novel Red Dog, Red Dog was longlisted for the Giller Prize in 2009.
Lane was married three times, latterly to established poet Lorna Crozier, with their relationship spanning 41 years. After a stint in South America developing his writing and then travelling the globe, Lane and Crozier moved to Saanichton, where he remained until the time of his passing.
Lane’s work was elegant and stark, with the poet drawing on the many difficult experiences of his youth, including times of bereavement and poverty.
RIP Patrick Lane.
Patrick won the Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry in 1995 and a GG for poetry in 1978. He's been nominated for countless other awards.
He wrote across many genres. He was a friend, mentor, and inspiration to many of us.
He will be missed.
— The BC Book Prizes (@bcbookprizes) March 7, 2019
In his later years, Lane was open about his struggles with alcoholism and his past addiction to cocaine.
Across Canada, Lane garnered a following among younger writers for his willingness to mentor young talent, lecturing at the University of Victoria and the University of Toronto.
He was 79.