Frederick William Cogswell
Frederick (Fred) William Cogswell BA, MA, PhD, OC, ONB (poet, professor, editor, publisher, literary critic) was born in East Centreville, New Brunswick on 08 November 1917 and died in Vancouver, BC on 20 June 2004.
Descended from the Saxons of Essex in the 12th-century, the Cogswells (named after Sir John de Coggeshall) were Puritan wool merchants who emigrated to America in 1635, eventually settling in Ipswich, Mass, a town of Saxons that welcomed them with land grants. One line of the family moved to New Brunswick in the 1760s to occupy lands of the expelled Acadians. They settled in an area known as Cogswell Settlement, registering the farm that Fred grew up on in 1810.
Fred Cogswell’s father, Walter Scott, was a conservative, sometimes stubborn, man who, like his father, was steadfastly opposed to new technologies. He refused to own a tractor, preferring to work his farm with his beloved horses long after his potato-exporting neighbour, the now-famous A.D. McCain, had made the switch. The wages of his father’s labours repelled a young Fred Cogswell just as powerfully as its struggles impressed the older poet. Cogswell’s mother, Florence Ann White, was descended from Acadian Girouards; her mother was the first Acadian woman in the province to receive a university degree. Fred was aware of his mother’s Acadian ancestry when growing up; however, in deference to his father, he never investigated that part of his background until after his father’s death. The irony of those sorts of denials, and the limitations they placed on provincial autonomy, are still typical of the peculiar sociology of New Brunswick. Cogswell’s later commitment to literary translation is therefore found in both his lineage and in the tensions within it. Writ larger, his commitments to New Brunswick are rooted in competing antagonisms: a love of place tempered by an exasperation with its parochialisms.
At age seven Cogswell was reading at an adult level. He also had an amazing memory and mathematical aptitudes. He could add multiple columns of numbers in his head and easily calculate the number of seconds in a year or the near-exact potato yield from sixteen acres. Thus, Cogswell would always be torn between the world of the mind that his mother demanded and the world of the earth that his father inhabited. He would come to accept both realms as his inheritance, even if the “strong roots that held and fed [him were] bread that was more like glue than honey” (“In My Young Days” 52).
Until grade nine Cogswell attended a one-room schoolhouse across the street from the family farm. To his peers he was odd, always eager to join but preoccupied with strange interests like chasing butterflies, collecting flowers, and reading the dictionary, one of the few books available in his rural school. As he grew, his preoccupations with reading and writing became pronounced, giving him a way to move from the periphery of events into the centre of a mostly imagined culture from away. By age ten he had discovered Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, an anthology of poetry that was standard in North American schools. He began writing by copying the forms and sentiments of the Victorians, whose body of work was the focus of the second volume of the anthology in his school. He was especially interested in poetic forms, making a game of using the strict rules of the forms to generate his own verse.
After graduating from Normal School with a first class Superior license in 1936 he worked in small rural New Brunswick schools for a couple of years, but the experience of maintaining school discipline defeated him, and he lost both jobs, as much out of sympathy for the inattentive boys as for a sense of his wider calling. With the trials of high school teaching over, he set off to Fredericton on a cold day in February 1940 to enlist. He joined the forestry corps, shipping overseas to Scotland where he worked on the telephone switchboard to maintain inventory and move the 100,000 board feet of timber cut each day. When he got leave, he would travel south to hear lectures at one of the universities that had opened its doors to enlisted men. On one of his furloughs to Exeter, he met his future wife, Margaret Hynes, an Irish nurse from Scariff, County Clare. They were married in July 1944. She transferred to Aberdeen, Scotland to be near her husband, staying until he was shipped back to Canada in August 1945. They were reunited in New Brunswick when the war brides and children were released a year later.
Cogswell enrolled at UNB in 1945. He roomed in an old military barracks on the Fredericton Exhibition grounds, the site known as Alexander College. Like other veterans, he became caught up in the “determined and healthy optimism” of the time (Galloway 210), eager to move beyond the stagnation of his previous life in evangelical New Brunswick. With a generous veteran’s allowance, he was able to study full time for almost eight years, moving from a BA [1949, UNB] to a PhD [1952, Edinburgh] in that time.
At UNB, he took classes from Desmond Pacey and from Alfred G. Bailey, the brilliant poet-historian who had co-founded the Bliss Carman Society in 1940 and The Fiddlehead in 1945. He completed an MA under Pacey in 1950 on the Canadian novel from Confederation to WWI. He also joined the small group of approximately ten poets who met regularly at Bailey’s home to read their work and discuss issues of the day. It was under these conditions that Cogswell emerged as a committee socialist. He helped with the provincial CCF paper, True Democracy, he wrote speeches for national secretary David Lewis, and he even became Provincial Secretary. After his MA, he received an IODE scholarship to start a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. His wife and two young daughters (Carmen and Kathleen) accompanied him.
By the start of the 1952 academic year, he had accepted a job at UNB. Almost immediately he took over editorial control of The Fiddlehead, opening the magazine to a large audience by enacting an editorial practice of eclecticism to accommodate as wide a readership as possible. With the demise of Contemporary Verse and Northern Review, his magazine and The Canadian Forum became the incubators of creative writing in the country. As first reader, he read upwards of 5000 poems per year once the magazine got going, endeavouring to provide constructive feedback to each poet. A year after he began remaking the magazine, he and Al Tunis, a like-minded colleague in the UNB Sociology Department, founded Fiddlehead Poetry Books, the logical extension of the periodical. The first book published was Cogswell’s The Stunted Strong (1954), a collection of wry and arresting portraits of the farm folk of Cogswell’s youth. The portraits personalized New Brunswickers as nothing before had done, providing important models for younger poets such as Robert Gibbs and Alden Nowlan.
During Cogswell’s tenure as publisher of Fiddlehead Poetry Books, he published the work of Al Purdy, Alden Nowlan, Dorothy Livesay, Norman Levine, Joy Kogawa, and many other well-known poets of the 1960s and 70s. In total, he published 307 books of poetry, forty-four of those in 1973, and many funded by his own resources. As editor of The Fiddlehead (1953-66) and publisher of Fiddlehead Poetry Books (1954-81), he established himself as both the friend and mentor of an entire generation of Canadian poets.
In the late 1960s Cogswell went to Montreal to study and translate French. Acadian Premier Louis J. Robichaud’s Equal Opportunity reforms were taking shape in New Brunswick and, as importantly, eliciting a response that Cogswell considered downright racist. When editorial cartoons depicting Robichaud as a decadent King Louis XVI of France started appearing in the Irving-owned Daily Gleaner, and then an anonymous letter appeared in the Irving-owned Telegraph-Journal accusing Robichaud of “robbing Peter to pay Pierre,” Cogswell became convinced that English intellectuals had to come forward to defend the interests of the French. He sought to explore intolerance by learning the literary language of Canada’s vanquished citizens. Star-People, his best collection after The Stunted Strong, appeared in 1967—its preoccupations the freedoms and confusions of the decade of political turmoil. One Hundred Poems of Modern Quebec was published in 1970, the year after New Brunswick became officially bilingual. When Antonine Maillet’s ground-breaking La Sagouine came out in 1971, Cogswell started to read Acadian literature in earnest, convinced that opening the French sensibility to English readers would buttress tolerance through understanding.
In subsequent years, he became a founding member of the Independent Publishers’ Association (IPA), then the Literary Press Group, then the Atlantic Publishers’ Association. His motives in taking on this pan-Canadian cultural work were not directly related to his own interests or to a politics of cultural nationalism, though both were served by his work at the policy level of cultural governance. Rather, he desired primarily to support individuals at the most fundamental level of their artistic practice. His haiku “Snob” seems illustrative of this view: “The humming-bird / flies by here and flies by there / without seeing me” (46). In the detente achieved between “here” and “there,” the poet is negated, his subjectivity existing somewhere along the plane of the balance created between opposites.
In 1980, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Publishers’ Association commissioned a Scroll in his honour, a collection of poems signed by forty-nine Canadian poets. He received the Order of Canada a year later, and Professor Emeritus status was conferred by UNB in 1983. Honorary degrees for outstanding achievement in the arts followed: 1983, LLD, St. FX; 1985, DCL, King’s College, Halifax; and 1988, LLD, Mount Allison. As these local attentions accumulated, he was immersing himself in Maritime literary criticism, undertaking major restorative projects on Charles G.D. Roberts and Atlantic writing. His focus now was decidedly regional. Retirement, coupled with the unexpected deaths of his oldest daughter and wife, made much of the middle part of the 1980s a time of sorrow and transition. “[I] feel my lack of wings,” he wrote in one poem; “Outside me now / The discord lays my limitations bare” (“The Beach at Noon” 9). When The Best Notes Merge appeared in 1988, his mood was one of conciliation. “What I have learned,” he wrote, “is that wills cannot merge” (“Inside the Chapel” 56). Rather, the “discord” of which he previously wrote forms a “Great orchestra whose instruments perform / God’s master-work . . . . and from each place / The best notes merge to find one unison” (56). Only in the late 1980s was he assured that his life would go on—and reminded of “[w]hat a gypsy said at the country fair”: “‘Don’t quit on love, boy. Though it hurts like hell, / How much you live depends on how you care’” (“Loneliness” 2).
His life did indeed go on, but in a much-quieter guise than previously. Retired and divested of his heavy editorial, publishing, and teaching labours, he spent the 1990s in New Brunswick as poet and seer. He continued to help aspiring poets by using his broad network of connections to find publishing venues, and he continued to translate French verse, striving to bring the work of Acadian poets to English readers. His translations in Unfinished Dreams: Contemporary Poetry of Acadie (1990, with Jo-Anne Elder) were the first Acadian verses that many English New Brunswickers read. His greater energies, however, concentrated on his own poetry, which he finally had the long horizons to cultivate. From 1991 to the time he left New Brunswick in 2002 he published twelve collections, their preoccupations more philosophical than earlier works. In each, memory assuages loneliness, and the poem itself (as creation) is flashpoint for a temporary joy. In “A Bare Road and a Lonely” he recounts the loneliness of that uncertain time, the uncharacteristic free verse line he employs a metaphor for how unfixed his world was during those years of “hid[ing] in outward smiles the inner ache” (“Self-Advice” 58):
a bare road and a lonely
cold rain-clouds hid the sun
each hill he climbed led only
to another one
in him song welled up anew
spurring his weary feet
and the rhythm it moved to
was his own heart-beat (31)
In early 2002, Cogswell left New Brunswick for the last time, going to Vancouver to live with his daughter Kathleen. He was eighty-five.
Cogswell wrote to his dying days, refusing to let his “toil-established muscles die” (“Retirement” 99). His final poems were beacons of light that expressed his profound belief in freedom of the imagination and heart. With organized religion gone off the rails, the creative impulse, he believed, is the only truth.
Fred Cogswell died at the Royal Columbian Hospital on 20 June 2004 in Vancouver. He died with his poems around him.
St. Thomas University
Cogswell, Fred. “A Bare Road and a Lonely.” When the Right Light Shines. Ottawa: Borealis, 1992. 31.
---. “The Beach at Noon.” Meditations: 50 Sestinas. Charlottetown: Ragweed, 1986. 9.
---. “In My Young Days.” The Kindness of Stars. Ottawa: Borealis, 2004. 52.
---. “Inside the Chapel: Villa Madonna.” The Best Notes Merge. Ottawa: Borealis, 1988. 51-56.
---. “Loneliness.” Black and White Tapestry. Ottawa: Borealis, 1989. 2.
---. “Retirement.” With Vision Added. Nepean: Borealis, 2000. 98-99.
---. “Self-Advice.” Folds. Nepean: Borealis, 1997. 58.
---. “Snob.” Dried Flowers. Ottawa: Borealis, 2002. 46.
Bibliography of Primary Sources
Cogswell, Fred. The Stunted Strong. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1954.
---. The Haloed Tree. Toronto: Ryerson, 1956.
---. Descent from Eden. Toronto: Ryerson, 1959.
---. Lost Dimension. Dulwich Village, Eng.: [Outpost] College Press, 1960.
---. Star-People. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1968.
---. Immortal Plowman. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1969.
---. In Praise of Chastity. The New Brunswick Chapbooks # 12. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1970.
---. The Chains of Liliput. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1971.
---. The House Without a Door. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1973.
---. Light Bird of Life: Selected Poems. Ed. Peter Thomas. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1974.
---. Against Perspective. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1977.
---. A Long Apprenticeship: The Collected Poems of Fred Cogswell. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1980.
---. Scroll. Comp. Gregory M. Cook. Wolfville, NS: Wombat Press, 1980.
---. Our Stubborn Strength. Toronto: League of Canadian Poets, 1980.
---. Pearls. Charlottetown: Ragweed, 1983.
---. Fred Cogswell: Selected Poems. Ed. Antonio D’Alfonso. Montreal: Guernica, 1983.
---. Meditations: 50 Sestinas. Charlottetown: Ragweed, 1986.
---. An Edge to Life. Saint John, NB: Purple Wednesday Society, 1987.
---. The Best Notes Merge. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1988.
---. Black and White Tapestry. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1989.
---. Watching an Eagle. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1991.
---. When the Right Light Shines. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1992.
---. In Praise of Old Music. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1992.
---. In My Own Growing. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1993.
---. As I See It. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1994.
---. The Trouble With Light. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1996.
---. Folds. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1997.
---. A Double Question. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 1999.
---. With Vision Added. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 2000.
---. Deeper Than Mind. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 2001.
---. Dried Flowers. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 2002.
---. Ghosts. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 2002.
---. Later in Chicago. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 2003.
---. The Kindness of Stars. Nepean, ON: Borealis, 2004.
One Hundred Poems of Modern Quebec. Trans. Fred Cogswell. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Press, 1970.
A Second Hundred Poems of Modern Quebec. Ed. and Trans. Fred Cogswell. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1971.
Lapointe, Gatien. Confrontation = Face à face. Trans. Fred Cogswell. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1973.
The Poetry of Modern Quebec: An Anthology. Ed. and Trans. Fred Cogswell. Montreal: Harvest House, 1976.
Nelligan, Émile. The Complete Poems of Emile Nelligan. Intro. and Trans. Fred Cogswell. Montreal: Harvest House, 1983.
Unfinished Dreams: Contemporary Poetry of Acadie. Ed. and Trans. Fred Cogswell and Jo-Anne Elder. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 1990.
Chiasson, Herménégilde. Climates. Trans. Jo-Anne Elder and Fred Cogswell. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 1999.
---. Conversations. Trans. Jo-Anne Elder and Fred Cogswell. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 2001.
Anthologies and Editions (Selected)
Cogswell, Fred, ed. Five New Brunswick Poets: Elizabeth Brewster, Fred Cogswell, Robert Gibbs, Alden Nowlan, Kay Smith. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1962.
Tweedie, R.A., Fred Cogswell, and W. Stewart MacNutt, eds. Arts in New Brunswick. Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1967.
Cogswell, Fred, ed. The Atlantic Anthology. Vol. 1: Prose. Charlottetown: Ragweed, 1984.
---, ed. The Atlantic Anthology. Vol. 2: Poetry. Charlottetown: Ragweed, 1985.
Literary Criticism: Articles, Essays, Chapters, Introductions (Selected)
Cogswell, Fred. “The Way of the Sea: A Symbolic Epic.” Dalhousie Review 35 (1955): 374-81.
---. “Nineteenth Century Poetry in the Maritimes and Problems of Research.” Newsletter of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 5 (September 1961): 5-19.
---. “E.J. Pratt’s Literary Reputation.” Canadian Literature 19 (Winter 1964): 6-12.
---. “The Development of Writing.” Arts in New Brunswick. Ed. R.A. Tweedie, et al. Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1967. 19-31.
---. “Eros or Narcissus? The Male Canadian Poet.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 1.2 (Jan. 1968): 103-111.
---. “The Poetry of Modern Quebec.” On Canada: Essays in Honour of Frank H. Underhill. Ed. Norman Penlington. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1971. 54-70.
---. “Early, May Agnes (Fleming).” Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. 10 (1871-1880). Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1972. 268-69.
---. “Birney (Alfred Earle 1904 -).” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 1. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale, 1973. 34.
---. “Desmond Pacey.” Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne 66 (1975): 7-13.
---. “Modern Acadian Poetry.” Canadian Literature 68-69 (Spring 1976): 62-65.
---. “Newfoundland (1715-1880).” Literary History of Canada. Ed. C.F. Klinck, et al. 2nd ed. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1976. 68-71.
---. “The Maritime Provinces (1720-1815).” Literary History of Canada. Ed. C.F. Klinck, et al. 2nd ed. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1976. 71-82.
---. “Haliburton.” Literary History of Canada. Ed. C.F. Klinck, et al. 2nd ed. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1976. 92-101.
---. “Haliburton, Thomas Chandler.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. 9 (1861-1870). Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1976. 348-57.
---. “Literary Activity in the Maritime Provinces (1815-1880).” Literary History of Canada. Ed. C.F. Klinck, et al. 2nd ed. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1976. 102-24.
---. “Literary Traditions in New Brunswick.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada IV.15 (1977): 287-99.
---. “Until Time Erodes Bad Art, Maritime Writers Must Persevere.” Globe and Mail 14 January 1978: 6.
---. “Little Magazines and Small Presses in Canada.” Figures in a Ground: Canadian Essays on Modern Literature Collected in Honor of Sheila Watson. Ed. Diane Bessai and David Jackel. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1978. 162-73.
---. “Feminism in Isabella Valancy Crawford’s ‘Said the Canoe.’” The Crawford Symposium. Ed. Frank Tierney. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1979. 79-85.
---. “Symbol and Decoration: ‘The Piper of Arll.’” The Duncan Campbell Scott Symposium. Ed. K.P. Stich. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1980. 47-54.
---. “Charles G.D. Roberts.” Canadian Writers and Their Works. Vol. 2: Poetry. Ed. Robert Lecker, et al. Downsview, ON: ECW Press, 1983. 187-232.
---. “Charles G.D. Roberts: The Critical Years.” Proceedings of the Sir Charles G.D. Roberts Symposium. Ed. Carrie Macmillan. Halifax: Nimbus, 1984. 117-29.
---. “The Classical Poetry of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts.” The Sir Charles G.D. Roberts Symposium. Ed. Glenn Clever. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1984. 27-37.
---. Introduction. The Collected Poems of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts: A Critical Edition. Ed. Desmond Pacey and Graham Adams. Wolfville, NS: Wombat Press, 1985. xix-xxxii.
---. “English Poetry in New Brunswick Before 1880.” A Literary and Linguistic History of New Brunswick. Gen. Ed. R. Gair. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books & Goose Lane, 1985. 107-116.
---. “English Prose Writing in New Brunswick: World War I to the Present.” A Literary and Linguistic History of New Brunswick. Gen. Ed. R. Gair. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books & Goose Lane, 1985. 229-44.
---. “Some Notes on the Development of Regional Fiction in the Maritimes.” Essays on Canadian Writing 31 (Summer 1985): 192-200.
---. "Alden Nowlan as Regional Atavist." Encounters and Explorations: Canadian Writers and European Critics. Ed. Franz K. Stanzel and Waldemar Zacharasiewicz. Wurzburg, Germany: Königshausen & Neumann, 1986: 37-55. [Rpt. with minor revisions from Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne 11.2 (Fall 1986): 206-225.]
---. “Charles Mair.” Canadian Writers and Their Works. Vol. 1: Poetry. Ed. Robert Lecker, et al. Toronto: ECW Press, 1988. 119-55.
---. “Academics and Mavericks.” David Adams Richards: Essays on his Works. Ed. Tony Tremblay. Toronto: Guernica, 2005. 69-71.
Bibliography of Selected Secondary Sources
Davies, Gwendolyn. “Fred Cogswell.” Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 60. Ed. W.H. New. Detroit: Gale, 1987. 33-41.
---. “Fred Cogswell.” Canadian Writers Since 1960. 2nd ed. Ed. W.H. New. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 1989. 33-41.
---. “The Three Wise Men of Maritime Literature: A Personal Tribute.” Acadiensis 30.1 (Autumn 2000): 31-37.
Forsythe, Kathleen, ed. The Vision of Fred: The Friend of Poets/Ami de Poètes [Conversations with Fred Cogswell on the Nature and Function of Poetry]. Ottawa: Borealis, 2004.
Galloway, David. “SCL Interviews: Fred Cogswell.” Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne 10.1-2 (1985): 208-225.
Gibbs, Robert. “Three Decades and a Bit Under the Elms: A Fragmentary Memoir.” Essays on Canadian Writing: Literature of Atlantic Canada. Ed. Terry Whalen. 31 (Summer 1985): 231-39.
Hatt, Blaine E. “Fred Cogswell: ‘A Well-Placed Candle.’” The Atlantic Advocate 81.4 (December 1990): 38-40.
Hawkes, Robert. “Fred Cogswell: A Tribute.” The Antigonish Review 141-2 (Spring-Summer 2005): 161-64.
Hurley, Clarissa. “Unfurling the Fern.” Books in Canada 27.5 (Summer 1998): 5-6.
Lemm, Richard. “Aging With Style and Passion.” Rev. of When the Right Light Shines, and In Praise of Old Music, by Fred Cogswell. Dalhousie Review 74 (Spring 1994): 125-8.
Moore, Andrew. “The Fiddlehead.” The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia. Ed. Tony Tremblay. Fredericton: New Brunswick Studies Centre, 2011. Http://w3.stu.ca/stu/sites/nble/f/fiddlehead.html
Mullen, Vernon. “University of New Brunswick.” Them Lions Will Eat Them Up. Richmond, ON: Voyager Publishing, 1999. 27-42.
Nowlan, Alden. “Something to Write About.” Canadian Literature 68-69 (Spring/Summer 1976): 7-12.
Trueman, A.W. “Foreward.” The Fiddlehead 18 (1953): 2.
Rossignol, Pierre. “Theme and Form in the Poetry of Fred Cogswell.” MA thesis. Laval University, 1975.
Scott, Virginia. Rev. of The Best Notes Merge, by Fred Cogswell. American Review of Canadian Studies 20.4 (Winter 1990): 447-57.
Snyder, J.K. Rev. of Black and White Tapestry, by Fred Cogswell. The Antigonish Review 84 (Winter 1991): 155-65.
Tremblay, Tony. “‘Words I write are the best of me’: Fred Cogswell, Poet, at 80.” The Fiddlehead 193 (Autumn 1997): 78-81.
---. “‘I write upon the wall, Good Will to Men’: Locating the Dialectic of Art and Editing in the Early Poetry of Fred Cogswell.” Ellipse 68 (Autumn 2002): 47-57.
Ware, Tracey. “Is Fred Cogswell Beyond Criticism?” Essays on Canadian Writing 47 (Fall 1992): 105-15.
Williamson, Margie. “Four Maritime Poets: A Survey of the Works of Alden Nowlan, Fred Cogswell, Raymond Fraser and Al Pittman, As They Reflect the Spirit and Culture of the Maritime People.” MA thesis. Dalhousie University, 1973.