Margaret Avison was born in Galt, Ontario, Canada, and lived for many years in Toronto. She received a BA and an MA from the University of Toronto and worked as a librarian, social worker, and teacher, writing her poetry in the evenings. Avison’s collections of poetry include Winter Sun (1960), Dumbfounding (1966), Sunblue (1978), No Time (1990), Concrete and Wild Carrot (2002), and Momentary Dark (2006).
Avison became a devout Christian in 1963, and her work is often described by reviewers as introspective, observant, and deeply spiritual. Judith Fitzgerald, writing of Avison’s posthumous collection Listening (2009) in the Globe and Mail, commented: “An original, an authentic visionary without the flashily splashy trappings so often accorded those whose egos impose themselves upon others in their dubiously designated ‘poetry,’ Avison praises Creation in all its transplendent awesome/awful mutations.”
Avison was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1984. She received the Governor General’s Award twice, the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2003 for Concrete and Wild Carrot, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Leslie K. Tarr Award for outstanding contribution to Christian writing in Canada. She died in 2007 in Toronto.