Ward Maxwell is a poet, graphic designer, musician and bon vivant.

He was one of the ringleaders of the group known as the Peterborough Poets (which included, among others, Maggie Helwig, Richard Harrison, Michael Dennis, Betsy Struthers, Ian David Arlett and Riley Tench) who sprang up at Trent University in the late 1970s. The Poets were known for their emphasis on performance – their shows were usually in one of the university bars, often unannounced. Poetry was spoken, often shouted from tabletops, and the crowd was encouraged to approve or insult the poets. The insults were rude, critical, often funny. The poets’ replies were even better.

With Riley Tench, Ward published a series of chapbooks and hand-stitched volumes of poetry during the late 1970’s. Ward continued self-publishing chapbooks since then. In 1978 Ward was one of the three winners of Harbourfront’s Discovery reading competition — judged by Mary di Michele, Brian Flack, and John Robert Columbo. Ward’s work has been published in CVii, Rampike. Poetry Toronto, and a number of Toronto ‘zines, including Elvis Car (edited by Lillian Necakov). He also wrote, composed and performed satiric songs for CBC Radio’s Sunday Morning & As it Happens, and appeared in a dance piece by Miriam Adams at Harbourfront.

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