Fred Cogswell

Fred Cogswell was many-dimensioned. Farmer, soldier, poet, professor, publisher, editor, critic, anthologist, translator, and renowned “friend of poets,” he was a cultural worker without equal in New Brunswick. Born in 1917 in East Centreville, NB, he spent his early years on the family farm juggling the not-always-compatible demands of physical labour and creative imagination. A voracious reader and brilliant student, he quickly ascended to a position as professor at UNB, from which he took on the role of editor of The Fiddlehead, the province’s leading (and still-circulating) literary magazine. With hard work and determination, he transformed the magazine from a small private newsletter to a journal of national significance that attracted the work of North America’s best writers. He did the same as publisher of Fiddlehead Poetry Books, striving to provide a forum that would help writers reach a wide audience. As editor of The Fiddlehead (1953-66) and publisher of Fiddlehead Poetry Books (1954-81), he became the friend and mentor of an entire generation of Canadian writers. His first collection of poems, The Stunted Strong, appeared in 1954. Subsequent to that, he published extensively, both creative and critical works, and he mentored a generation of students, many of whom went on to become Canada’s leading writers and critics. His work was equally significant in the field of translation, both in Quebec and Acadie. His translations of Acadian poetry provided New Brunswick’s Anglophones with the first glimpses of the literature of their provincial neighbours.

For the full Author Page on Cogswell, click here.


The linked Author Page contains the poems "Valley-Folk," "New Brunswick," "George Burroughs," "George Ernst," "Ode to Fredericton," "A Defense of Amateurism," "The Water and the Rock," "Like Two Slant Trees," "In a Hospital," "How it Was," and "Zen." It also contains an excerpt from the longer poem "Zen: The Epicure."