The themes Raymond Knister wrote about
John Raymond Knister was a Canadian poet, novelist, story writer, columnist, and reviewer, "known primarily for his realistic narratives set in rural Canada. Knister was a highly respected member of the Canadian literary community during the 1920s and early 1930s, and recent criticism has acknowledged him as a pioneer in establishing a distinctively modern voice in Canadian literature.
Born at Ruscom (now part of Lakeshore), Ontario, near Windsor, Knister attended Victoria College at the University of Toronto, but had to drop out after catching pneumonia. He worked on his father's farm until 1923.
In 1919 Knister began writing and publishing stories and poems about Canadian farm life. He worked in 1922 and 1923 as a book reviewer for the Windsor Border Cities Star and the Detroit Free Press. He moved to Iowa in 1923 to become associate editor of literary magazine The Midland ("the most important magazine America had produced," according to H.L. Mencken) in Iowa City for a year. During the same time he took courses in creative writing at Iowa State University.
By 1924 Knister was a taxi driver in Chicago, as well as a reviewer for Poetry magazine and the Chicago Evening Post. "In 1926 he moved to Toronto, where he freelanced; his work appeared in the Toronto Star Weekly and Saturday Night." In Toronto he became acquainted with writers Morley Callaghan, Mazo de la Roche, Merrill Denison, and Charles G.D. Roberts.
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