Canadian poet and novelist Don Coles, who "was revered for his 14 volumes of poetry, including The Prinzhorn Collection, Forests of the Medieval World, which won the Governor-General's literary award for poetry in 1993, and Kurgan, winner of the Trillium Prize in 2000," died November 29, the Globe & Mail reported. He was 90. Coles also wrote "the intellectually persuasive" novel Doctor Bloom's Story, which was a finalist for a Toronto Book Award in 2005.
Michael Redhill, winner of this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel Bellevue Square, met Coles at York University in the mid-1980s, but really got to know him at Banff a few years later: "He gave me the courage to try to be better," Redhill said, adding that "when you love someone's work, you're motivated to listen closely.... what he said to me about my young poems, face to face, and later in life, the many different conversations and e-mails I had with him that sent me running to the bookshelf or the bookstore. The depth of his knowledge, and the certainty he held in the importance of poetry, excited my intellect every time I encountered him."
Poet David O'Meara noted that Coles "encouraged and grounded me. He reminded me, by speaking about what he loved to read, that writing takes a lifetime of thinking, as reading does. He defended patience and subtlety and led by example."