Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elizabeth Brewster, 1922-2012

Elizabeth Brewster (photo by Richard Marjan)
The news of the death of Elizabeth Brewster has saddened us at The Fiddlehead, and me in particular as editor.  During World War II Alfred Bailey organized a group known as the Bliss Carman Society to meet at his home to critique each other’s poetry, and Betty Brewster, as she was known, was a part of this group.  It was the idea of Don Gammon to form The Fiddlehead to publish the members of the group, and so Elizabeth Brewster joined in to found The Fiddlehead, which first appeared in 1945.  As far as I know, she was the last living member of the Bliss Carman Society.

A new poetic was given birth at these meetings of the Bliss Carman Society, one that would lead to a complete break with Canadian modernism.  Brewster was a leading figure in the formation of a poetry that is plainspoken, precise in its observations of everyday life, and rooted very much in place, as can be seen in her early New Brunswick poem, “Where I Come From.”

Brewster’s poems appeared in the very first Fiddlehead, and in memoriam we will be publishing some of her early work from those first issues in this coming spring number of The Fiddlehead.

Ross Leckie, Editor