Canadian poet and editor Raymond Holmes Souster was educated at the University of Toronto and Humberside Collegiate and served four years in the Royal Canadian Air Force. A lifelong resident of Toronto, he worked as a banker for nearly 50 years.
Souster’s free verse poems capture the details of daily city life. He was the author of more than 50 volumes of poetry, including The Colour of the Times: Collected Poems (1964), which won the Governor General’s Award; Hanging In (1979), which won the City of Toronto Book Award; and Take Me Out to the Ballgame (2002). His Collected Poems was published in ten volumes between 1980 and 2004. He also published under the pen names Raymond Holmes and John Holmes.
A strong supporter of independent presses and experimental poetry, Souster was the founding editor for the literary journals Direction (1941–46), Contact (1952–54), and Combustion (1957–60) and the founding president of the League of Canadian Poets. His Contact Press first published, among others, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje. Souster also edited the anthologies Poets 56: ten younger English-Canadians (1956) and New Wave Canada: The New Explosion in Canadian Poetry (1966).
His honors include the Centennial Medal, the Silver Jubilee Medal, and the President’s Medal at the University of Toronto, and he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Souster died of cancer at the age of 91.