Manuscript Collection MS Coll. 00036A - Jay MillAr Papers

Identity area

Reference code

CA OTUTF MS Coll. 00036A


Jay MillAr Papers


  • 1986 - 2006 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

25 boxes (5.6 metres)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Jay MillAr, born John Elliott Millar, is a poet, editor, publisher and bookseller involved in the Canadian experimental poetry community. He was born in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up in London, Ontario. He began his undergraduate degree at Western University before transferring to York University and moving to Toronto in 1992. He later received graduate degrees from York University (Master’s in English) and the University of Toronto (Master of Information). In 1992, he founded his own publishing company, Boondoggle Books, which according to MillAr was “mostly to publish my own terrible early work, but I published a few other writers as well.” According to an interview in 2006, MillAr stated that he found the term Boondoggle in a dictionary as “a military term that means to carry out useless and trivial actions with the appearance of doing something important.” MillAr produced two small magazines through Boondoggle, “B” after “C” and HIJ. In 1997, he transformed Boondoggle Books into BookThug. MillAr has published widely through his own presses, as well as several other publishing houses, most notably including: The Ghosts of Jay MillAr. (Coach House Books, 2000), Mycological Studies, (Coach House Books, 2002), False Maps for Other Creatures. (Blewointment press, 2005), Double Helix (with Stephen Cain, Mercury Press, 2006), The Small Blue (Snare Books, 2007) and Timely Irreverence (Nightwood Editions, 2013). MillAr is the proprietor of Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe, “a virtual bookstore that specializes in the books that no one wants to buy.” MillAr is the co-director of the Toronto New School of Writing and also teaches creative writing and poetics at George Brown College.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Jay MillAr, 2007

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Contains drafts, manuscripts, correspondence and other material pertaining to the life, education, poetry and published work of Jay MillAr (1971-). The collection also includes his involvement and interaction with the Toronto experimental poetry community and other poets and writers, notably Brian T. Francis, John Barlow, Rob Ruzic and Rob McLennan. In addition, the collection also includes publications, correspondence and manuscript material from the two literary presses – Boondoggle Books (1992-1997) and BookThug (1997-) – that he founded and operates.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description identifier


Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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