Souster, Raymond (1921–2012) By Scott, Conrad
Raymond Holmes Souster has been described as a poet of place who invests Toronto, the city of his life-long residence, deeply into his writing. Having worked for some forty-five years at the downtown Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Souster’s immersion in a particular place certainly informed his poetic output; however, Souster the poet also ponders the human condition. On the one hand, he writes from a basis of experience: the destruction of war and the changes imposed by the rise of the modern era. On the other, his work seeks out and highlights that which is still precious despite the weight of the world he feels. Moreover, he clearly values poetry as a salve to the cacophonous imposition of modernity, and continually encourages poetic development: in addition to his substantial body of work, he has supported Canadian poetry by editing several anthologies, and as a creator of Direction (editor 1943–6); a founder of Contact (editor 1952–4); an editor of Combustion (1957–60); and a founding member of the League of Canadian Poets (president 1967–71).