When New Provinces first appeared in 1936, it represented four years of planning, argument, and compromise, and an additional two and a half years of correspondence and editorial preparation. This prolonged effort was brought to a successful end with the publication of a slim collection of verse, the work of six writers, Robert Finch, Leo Kennedy, A.M. Klein, E.J. Pratt, F.R. Scott, and A.J.M. Smith.
At the time it was published it received little critical attention and had even less popular appeal; after nearly a year the book had sold only 82 copies, 10 of them to one of the contributors. Only E.K. Brown, writing for University of Toronto Quarterly in 1937, seemed to realize that New Provinces 'marked the emergence ... of a group of poets who may well have a vivifying effect on Canadian poetry.'
Since that time this small volume has been recognized as a monument in Canadian literature, a singular event in a literary process which stemmed from the origins of Canadian modernism and its beginnings in Montreal, marking the first collective effort to introduce poets who came to represent the new establishment.
Michael Gnarowski's introduction tells the fascinating story of the genesis of the idea for the book and the difficulties that were encountered.