Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets



Selected Essays and Reviews

by Bliss Carman

Edited by Terry Whalen


My Escape Into Poetry*


When Charles Roberts occupied the chair of English in King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia, I was one of the foreign examiners in his subject and a frequent visitor at his home. Windsor is not far from Grand Pre, and I spent many happy vacations in the lovely Evangeline country. Of all the places I have known, none is more enchanting in its peaceful and unspoiled serenity than Grand Pre was in those years. In that beautiful land of great tides and wide meadows and comfortable quiet homes among miles of orchards, there was always something magical and charming which touched one with content and gladness. Or perhaps it is only because we were young and happy, that the place must seem forever blessed.

That was when I was beginning to write verses, and the lines called "Low Tide on Grand Pre" were composed in one of those summers. In the Autumn of 1886 I went to Harvard where I was to have a couple of years of post-graduate work in English and philosophy. I had the idea then of becoming a teacher of English literature, but the notion doesn't seem to have been strong enough to survive. I was too interested in the brilliant Harvard philosophers to be wholly engrossed in English letters, as one would have to be, to be a scholar and a teacher. And then too, writing began to be interesting. I sent the Grand Pre poem to "The Atlantic" and it was accepted by Mr. T.B. Aldrich. Also an opening presented itself for editorial work in New York. I went to a desk in the old INDEPENDENT office early in 1890. The first edition of "Low Tide on the Grand Pre and other Lyrics" appeared not very long afterward, and that was the end of professional ambitions.

"My Escape Into Poetry," Winnipeg Free Press, and simultaneously in Saturday Night, Nov. 19, 1921 [back]