Andrew Suknaski:

An Inventory of His Photographs at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Lewis St. George Stubbs
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, MB
(August 1998)

Finding aid encoded by Julianna Trivers (June 2002)
Finding aid written in English.

Revision History

  • July 26, 2005 - PC 137 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).


Collection Summary

Repository:
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Creator:
Andrew Suknaski

Title:
Andrew Suknaski fonds

Dates:
[ca. 1930]-1988

Quantity:
302 photographs. 2 contact sheets. - 2 postcards. -- 81 slides. -- 32 negative strips. -- 8 negatives. -- 1 video cassette. -- 1 album.

Identification:
TC 86

Language
English.

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Biography of Andrew Suknaski

The poet Andrew Suknaski was born in 1942 in a homestead near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan. His mother was Polish and his father Ukrainian; English was not his first language. Suknaski attended Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia as well as the Kootenay School of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Art & Design. He worked a series of menial jobs across the Prairies and in 1976 referred to himself as a ‘migrant worker.’

Much of Suknaski's early poetry is self published in pamphlet form by his own Elfin Plot Press. The work is visual in nature: concrete poems based on East Asian characters and collage. His emergence as a major voice in Western Canadian poetry can be traced to the publication of Wood Mountain Poems , by MacMillan Canada in 1976. This ground breaking work was followed by The Ghosts Call You Poor , in 1978. Suknaski's first two books have a mythological feel, with references to Sitting Bull, Chinese coolies in British Columbia and the Wood Mountain of his boyhood. That same year Suknaski was the topic of “Wood Mountain Poems,” a film by Harvey Spak for the National Film Board of Canada. The following year Suknaski published East of Myloona , a book about the people of the North. Over the next six years Suknaski produced three more books of poetry and an anthology. In the Name of Narid , 1981, tells of political suffering in other countries. The following year a volume of selected poems, The Land They Gave Away , was published as well as Montage to an Interstellar Cry .

At the beginning of the 1980s, Suknaski embarked on his most ambitious project to date, a work entitled “Celestial Mechanics”. The first phase of the project resulted in Montage to an Interstellar Cry . The second portion was entitled “Divining the West,” and never reached fruition. The third installment of the work resulted in the publication of Silk Trail in 1985, while the fourth component, “Ussuri Line,” remains unfinished. He also wrote a history of the Roumanians in Western Canada which was never published. Suknaski did not limit himself to poetry; he worked as a researcher on a number of National Film Board projects like “Grain” and “The Disinherited.” Poor health has prevented him from writing in recent years.

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Scope and Contents of the Papers

In 1987, having wearied of transporting his personal papers during his frequent moves, Suknaski burned twenty years of records in a bonfire in his backyard. What remains of his papers encompasses the years 1977-1992. The collection comprises 15 linear feet. There are drafts of many of his published works as well as correspondence with literary figures like Eli Mandel, John Newlove, Robert Kroetsch and Kristjana Gunnars. The fond contains many unpublished poems and several drafts of the films that Suknaski worked on for the National Film Board And C.B.C. Perhaps the most valuable portion of the collection are the unpublished manuscripts that Suknaski worked on during the 1980s, including Divining the West , Ussuri Line and In Search of Parinti/History of the Roumanians in Western Canada .

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Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 14 series

  • Early Family Photographs, [ca. 1930]-[ ca. 1945]
  • Photos From Wood Mountain Poems, [ca. 1972]
  • Suknaski Family, [ca. 1970-1980]
  • Suknaski's Friends, 1971-[ca. 1981]
  • Suknaski Artwork, [ca. 1985]
  • Graveyard Photographs, [ca. 1985]
  • Suknaski's Wood Mountain Home, [ca. 1985]
  • Suknaski's Still, [ca. 1987]
  • Photographs of Suknaski, [ca. 1968-1988]
  • Miscellaneous, 1942 and [ca. 1985]
  • Unidentified Rural Shots, n.d.
  • Unidentified Personalities & Photos From Other Repositories, n.d.
  • Suknaski Family Album, [ca. 1945-1975]
  • Unidentified Negatives and Slides, n.d.
  • Video Cassettes, 1980

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Arrangement of the Papers

The Suknaski fonds arrived at the University of Manitoba in very poor condition. The task of putting it into some semblance of order has been daunting. The material was separated into correspondence, published material & unpublished material.

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Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on this material.

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Other Finding Aids

Tape Collection (TC 86)

Manuscript Collection (MSS 125)

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Early Family Photographs [ca. 1930]-[ca. 1945]
BoxFolder
11 Mrs. Suknaski with daughter Eve, [ca. 1930].
1 Mrs. Suknaski, [ca. 1945].
1 Andy in Assinboia, 1948.
1 Andy, 1949.
1 Nora, Sophie & Andy, 1949.
1 Jayce Hallam & Andy, 1949.
1 Andy & Sophie, 1949.
1 Pauline, Eve, Mrs. Suknaski, Sophie, Louis & Andy, [ca. 1945].
1 Mrs. Suknaski in Poland, [ca. 1910].
1 Andy, [ca. 1945].
1 Andy & mother, [ca. 1945].
1 Andy, Louis & pet goat, [ca. 1945].

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Photos From Wood Mountain Poems [ca. 1972]
BoxFolder
12 Trails End Hotel, [ca. 1972].
2 Exterior view of Wood Mountain, [ca. 1972].
2 Wood Mountain Roumanian Orthodox Cemetry, [ca. 1972].
2 Wood Mountain train station, [ca. 1972].
2 Wood Mountain Cafe & Confectionary, [ca.1972].
2 Jimmy Hoy's, [ca. 1972].

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Suknasko Family (ca. 1970-1980]
BoxFolder
13 Andy & mother, [ca. 1975].
3 Andrew Suknaski Sr., [ca. 1977].
3 Andy & his father, [ca. 1977].
3 Walter Petaski, Matt Cherchun & Andrew Suknaski Sr., [ca. 1970].
3 Mrs. Suknaski's funeral, [ca. 1978].
3 Suknaski family gathering, (two photos), [ca. 1975].

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Suknaski's Friends 1971-[ca. 1981]
BoxFolder
14 Suknaski & Glen Sorestad, [ca. 1981].
3 Jars Balan, [ca. 1981].
3 Sid Marty, (two photos), [ca. 1981].
3 Harvey Spak, (three photos), [ca. 1981].
3 Lianne Wolfenden, ( four photos), 1971.
3 Halya Kuchmij, [ca. 1981].
3 Robert Green, 1980.
3 Jan Lake fishing group, [ca. 1981].
3 Reverand Father Oncescu & his wife, [ca. 1981].

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Suknaski Artwork [ca. 1985]
BoxFolder
15 Suknaski artwork [ca. 1985]

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Graveyard Photographs [ca. 1985]
BoxFolder
16 Graveyard photographs [ca. 1985]

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Suknaski's Wood Mountain Home [ca. 1985]
BoxFolder
17 Suknaski's Wood Mountain Home [ca. 1985]

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Suknaski's Still [ca. 1987]
BoxFolder
18 Suknaski's Still [ca. 1987]

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Photographs of Suknaski [ca. 1968-1988]
BoxFolder
19 Photographs of Suknaski [ca. 1968-1988]

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Miscellaneous 1942 and [ca. 1985]
BoxFolder
110 Romanian Orthodox Church outside Wood Mountain, (two photographs), [ca. 1985].
10 Regina Rodeo, 1942.

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Unidentified Rural Shots n.d.

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Unidentified Personalities & Photos from Other Repositories n.d.

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Suknaski Family Album [ca. 1945]-[ca. 1975]
BoxFolder
21 Contains early photographs from Suknaski's boyhood as well as many of the photographs used in Wood Mountain Poems. [ca. 1945]-[ca. 1975]

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Unidentified Negatives & Slides n.d.

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Video Cassettes 1980
BoxFolder
14 Returning, Suknaski & Cook for C.B.C., 1980.

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