Elizabeth Brewster

One of only a few female modernist poets to publish in Canadian little magazines during the 1940s, Elizabeth Brewster is perhaps the most celebrated poet to have emerged from the Bliss Carman Society (BCS). Brewster was born in the small logging community of Chipman, New Brunswick, in 1922.  Having come from an impoverished background, she dropped out of public school at a young age because she did not have warm clothing to wear during the winter. On the strength of her intelligence and self-education, however, she attended the University of New Brunswick from 1942-46. There she became a member of the BCS and played an integral role in the founding of The Fiddlehead. During her time as a member of the BCS, Brewster’s poetry appeared frequently in The Fiddlehead and was principally modernist, displaying imagistic clarity and careful precision. After her first collection of poetry, East Coast (1951), Brewster’s verse became increasingly personal. The themes of place, memory, and emotion are at the center of her work. Employing colloquial language and restraining her use of metaphor, simile, and allusion, Brewster’s poetry has at its core a tough honesty. Her preoccupation with self-identity and the personal, as well as her modest and conversational tone, distances her poetry from the high (and more intellectual) modernism of her early mentor, Alfred Bailey, and invites comparison with that of her good friend and contemporary poet Alden Nowlan. In addition to nearly twenty books of poetry, Brewster also published seven works of fiction, making her not only one of New Brunswick’s greatest writers, but also one of the most prolific.

For the full Author Page on Brewster, click here.


The linked Author page contains the poems "The Silent Scream," "The Young Girl Waits for Love," "Return of the Native," "Where I Come From," "River Song," "Atlantic Development," "Thirty Below," "Woman on a Bus: In New Brunswick Woods," "Inheritance," "Reasons for Reason," "In Favour of Being Alive," and "On Becoming an Ancestor."