Bliss Carman

The most lyrical and Bohemian of Canada’s Confederation poets, Bliss Carman was born in Fredericton in 1861 in a small cottage once owned by Jonathan Odell. Carman was the first cousin and close confidante of Charles G.D. Roberts (their mothers were sisters who traced their ancestral line to the New England essayist and Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson). While a student at Fredericton’s famous Collegiate Grammar School, Carman came under the influence of George Parkin, who tutored him in Greek and Roman classics and in the aesthetic theories of the contemporary European world. It was also Parkin who taught Carman and Roberts an appreciation for the natural world, bringing them on hiking and canoeing trips into the New Brunswick wilderness. Carman’s first poems appeared in the UNB Monthly a few years before he graduated from UNB (1881). After UNB he studied sporadically at Oxford, Edinburgh, and Harvard universities. At Harvard he encountered a world of new and daring ideas that would change his perspective, though not entirely his creative writing. His first collection of poems, Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics (1893), was quietly lauded if not commercially successful, and he was hailed as a major poetic voice. He published prodigiously (over 1500 pages of poetry) and remained popular throughout his lifetime – and despite living much of his adult life in the US he was feted on his return to Canada in the early 1920s, becoming the unofficial poet laureate of Canada in 1921.

For the full Author Page on Carman, click here.


The linked Author Page contains the poems "A Son of the Sea," the "Ships of Yule," "An Autumn Song," "In Bay Street," "There's Not a Little Boat, Sweetheart," "I Do Not Long for Fame," "Three Things There Be in the World, Yvonne," "In Apple Time," "Vestigia," "Low Tide on Grand Pré," and "Envoy." It also contains an excerpt from the longer poem "The Joys of the Open Road."