Francis Sherman

Francis Sherman, the third of the major Fredericton poets of Confederation, was born in Fredericton in 1871. He went to the city’s famous Collegiate School, where he was taught by George Parkin and Bliss Carman, and then briefly to UNB, dropping out because of a lack of money. He started a banking career at the Woodstock Branch of the Merchants’ Bank of Halifax in 1887, worked at the turn of the century in pre-Castro Cuba, turning that country into a major North and Central American banking centre, and by 1914 had risen to one of the senior executive positions at the Royal Bank of Canada in Montreal. At the height of his professional success he resigned from a life of comfort and influence to enlist as a private in the army, insisting that he bunk with his younger peers and collect the same meagre pay. He used his own substantial savings to supplement the wages of his fellow soldiers who were going on leave or experiencing hardship. A person of great humility, he published sparingly and out of sight, often in small or private journals in the US. His major collections came out in the 1890s. His muse was his first love and fiancée, May Whelpley, who was stricken with infantile paralysis (polio) before their wedding and never healthy enough to marry. Sherman, though, continued to see her, returning every year to be with her regardless of his location, and sending her early drafts of his work. When she died of tuberculosis so did his poetry cease.

For the full Author Page on Sherman, click here.


The linked Author Page contains the poems "At the Gate," "Between the Battles," "The House of Color," "A Road Song in May," "A Song in August," "The Watch," "A Hearth-Song," and "'So, After All, When All is Said and Done."