Alfred G. Bailey

More than anyone else, Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey is responsible for having brought literary modernism to New Brunswick. Born in Quebec City on 18 March 1905, Bailey spent his childhood between Quebec City, Tadoussac, and Fredericton. A renowned historian as well as a poet, Bailey’s ethno-historical and cultural studies, notably The Conflict of European and Eastern Algonkian Cultures, 1504-1700: A Study in Canadian Civilization (1937, 1969) and Culture and Nationality: Essays (1972), are considered hallmarks of Canadian cultural history. Bailey’s early poetry in Songs of the Saguenay (1927) and Tao (1930) was traditional in form and style, exhibiting the influence of the Confederation Poets, especially Bliss Carman. In Border River (1952), however, he introduced a radical and contemporary style that combined penetrating explorations of history and the natural world with the imagistic precision of modernism. Founding the Bliss Carman Society in 1940 and The Fiddlehead (1945-) five years later, Bailey pioneered literary modernism in New Brunswick in his own poetry and through his encouragement and mentorship of younger poets like Elizabeth Brewster, Fred Cogswell, and Robert Gibbs. As a poet, historian, university administrator, and cultural activist, Bailey’s impact on literature and culture both within New Brunswick and across Canada was immense.

For the full Author Page on Bailey, click here.


The linked Author Page contains the poems "Here in the East," "The Muskrat and the Whale," "Miramichi Lightning," "Mr. McGinty's Claw," "The Wicked Nurse," "House of Commons, 1934," and "Reflections on a Hill Behind a Town."