Waddington, Miriam (née Dworkin) (1917–2004) By Hall, Molly
Canadian poet Miriam Waddington was born in Winnipeg’s Jewish North End neighbourhood in Manitoba, Canada on 23 December 1917. Waddington was honoured with several awards for her writing throughout her career, winning the Borestone Mountain Award for best poem of the year in 1963, 1966, and 1974, and the J. J. Segal Award in 1972; receiving honorary doctorates from Lakehead University in 1975 and York University in 1985; and having her words imprinted on the Canadian $100 note in 2004. Her socialist and Yiddish upbringing inflected the politics of her poetry throughout her life; it was through her parents’ connections that she was able to receive mentorship from respected Yiddish poet Ida Maze, whose influences can be seen in Waddington’s work. Her translations of Yiddish poets were also central to her own poetic practice. Her style was unique for its formal precision in combination with a conversational tone—an innovation of stylistic play uncommon before her time. Her poetic focus on female-lived experience, preoccupation with her Jewish roots, and her Canadian nationality were deftly interwoven with explorations of cultural, national, and personal identity.