Webb, Phyllis (1927– ) By Dalgleish, Melissa
Phyllis Webb, OC is a Canadian poet, teacher, and broadcaster. She was born in Victoria, British Columbia and attended the University of British Columbia and McGill University. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, a selection of prose, and a collection of broadcast scripts, essays and reviews published as Talking (1982). Her first collection of poems was published alongside work by Eli Mandel and Gael Turnbull in Trio (1954). Webb’s first full-length collection, Even Your Right Eye (1956) was followed by The Sea is Also a Garden (1962). She began working at CBC Toronto in 1964 and acted as the producer of the ‘Ideas’ programme from 1967–1969. Her 1965 collection Naked Poems marked a point of departure with its compact forms and erotic evocation of lesbian desire. After returning to the West Coast, Webb did not publish another full-length collection until Wilson’s Bowl (1980). She won the Governor General’s Award for The Vision Tree (1982). Webb’s interest in the Persian ghazal form inspired Sunday Water: Thirteen Anti-Ghazals (1982) and Water and Light: Ghazals and Anti-Ghazals (1984). Her consistent concern with form manifests itself in her formal experimentation and her meticulous crafting of poems.