Bliss Carman, FRSC (April 15, 1861 - June 8, 1929) was a preeminent Canadian poet. He was born William Bliss Carman in Fredericton, in the Eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick. He published under the name "Bliss Carman," although the "Bliss" is his mother's surname.
As with many Canadian poets, nature figures prominently as a theme in his work. In his time, he was arguably Canada's best known poet, and was dubbed by some the "unofficial poet laureate of Canada."
Bliss Carman was the great-grandson of United Empire Loyalists who fled to Nova Scotia after the American Revolution, settling in New Brunswick (then part of Nova Scotia). His literary roots run deep with an ancestry that includes a mother who was a descendant of Daniel Bliss of Concord, Massachusetts, the great-grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Also on his mother's side, he was a first cousin to another famous Canadian poet, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts. His sister was married to the botanist and historian William Francis Ganong.
Carman was educated at the University of New Brunswick, the University of Edinburgh, and Harvard University. He later moved to New York City and was influential as an editor and writer for the Independent, the Cosmopolitan, the Atlantic Monthly, the Chap Book and other literary journals. He is also well known for his anthology and editing work on The World's Best Poetry (10 volumes, 1904) and The Oxford book of American Verse (1927).
After 1909, he lived in New Canaan, Connecticut but became a corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1928, the Society awarded him its Lorne Pierce Medal.
Bliss Carman died at the age of 68 in New Canaan, Connecticut. His body was returned home and interred in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
He is honoured with a school named after him in Toronto, Ontario .
Poetry by Carman
- A Seamark: A Threnody for Robert Louis Stevenson. Boston: Copeland And Day, 1875.
- Low Tide on Grande Pre: A Book Of Lyrics. London: D. Nutt, 1894.
- Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey. Songs From Vagabondia. Illus. Tom B. Meteyard. Boston, Copeland and Day, 1894.
- Behind The Arras: A Book Of The Unseen. Illus. T. B. Meteyard. Boston: Lamson, Wolffe, 1895.
- Ballads of Lost Haven: A Book Of The Sea. Boston: Lamson, Wolfee, 1897.
- By The Aurelian Wall: And Other Elegies. Boston: Lamson, Wolffe, 1898.
- Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey. Last Songs From Vagabondia. Illus. Tom B. Meteyard. Boston: Small, Maynard 1901.
- Ballads and Lyrics. London, Bullen, 1902.
- Ode on the Coronation of King Edward. Boston: L. C. Page, 1902.
- From The Green Book Of The Bards. His Pipes Of Pan, No.2. Boston: L. C. Page & Company, 1903.
- From The Book Of Myths. His Pipes Of Pan, No. 1. Boston: L. C. Page, 1904.
- The Kinship Of Nature. Boston: L. C. Page & Company, 1904.
- Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics (Intro. by Charles G.D. Roberts.) Boston: L. C. Page, 1904. (Gutenberg edition) Online version
- Songs from A Northern Garden. Pipes Of Pan, Number 4. Boston: L. C. Page, 1904.
- Songs Of The Sea Children. Boston: L. C. Page, 1904.
- From The Book Of Valentines. Boston: L. C. Page, 1905.
- Poems. London: Chiswick P, 1905.
- The Poetry Of Life. Boston: L. C. Page, 1905.
- The Friendship of Art. Boston: L.C. Page, 1908.
- The Making of Personality. Boston: L. C. Page, 1908.
- The Rough Rider: And Other Poems. M. Kennedy: New York, 1909.
- Bliss Carman and Mary Perry King. Daughters Of Dawn: A Lyrical Pageant or Series Of Historic Scenes For Presentation With Music and Dancing. New York: M. Kennerley, 1913.
- Echoes From Vagabondia. Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913.
- Bliss Carman and Mary Perry King. Earth Deities: And Other Rhythmic Masques. New York: M. Kennerley, 1914.
- April Airs: A Book Of New England Lyrics. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1916.
- Bliss Carman and Mary Perry King. The Man of The Marne: And Other Poems. New Canaan, Conn.: Ponus P, 1918.
- Later Poems. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1922.
- Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey. More Songs From Vagabondia. Illus. Tom B. Meteyard. Boston: Small, Maynard. 1924.
- Far Horizons. Toronto: M&S, 1926.
- Sanctuary: Sunshine House Sonnets. Illus. Whitman Bailey. Toronto: M&S, 1929.
- Wild Garden. Toronto: M&S, 1929.
- Bliss Carman's Poems. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1931.
- Bliss Carman's Scrap-Book: A Table Of Contents. Ed. Lorne Pierce. Toronto: Ryerson, 1931.
- Pipes Of Pan. Toronto: Ryerson, 1942.
- The Selected Poems Of Bliss Carman. Ed. Lorne Pierce. Toronto: M&S, 1954.
- A Vision Of Sappho. Toronto: Canadiana House, 1968.
- Windflower: Poems Of Bliss Carman. Ed. Raymond Souster and Douglas Lochhead. Ottawa: Tecumseh P, 1985.
- Vagabond Song. Tweed, Ont.: Bundle Buggy P, 1987.
Critical works on Carman
- "Bliss Carman's Letters To Margaret Lawrence, 1927-1929". Post-Confederation Poetry: Texts And Contexts. Ed. D.M.R. Bentley. London: Canadian Poetry P, 1995.
- Bliss Carman : A Reappraisal. Ed. Gerald Lynch. Ottawa : University Of Ottawa Press, 1990.
- Letters of Bliss Carman. Ed. H. Pearson Gundy. Kingston: McGill-Queen's University P, 1981.
- Hugh McPherson. The Literary Reputation Of Bliss Carman : A Study In The Development Of Canadian Taste In Poetry. 1950.
- Muriel Miller. Bliss Carman, A Portrait. Toronto: Ryerson, 1935.
- Muriel Miller. Bliss Carman : Quest And Revolt. St. John's, Nfld.: Jesperson P, 1985.
- Donald G Stephens. Bliss Carman. 1966.
- Donald G. Stephens. The Influence Of English Poets Upon The Poetry Of Bliss Carman. 1955.
- Margaret A. Stewart. Bliss Carman : Poet, Philosopher, Teacher. 1976.
- C. Nelson-McDermott. "Passionate Beauty: Carman's Sappho Poems." Canadian Poetry 27 (1990):40-45.
- Tracy Ware, Ed. "Arthur Symons' Reviews of Bliss Carman." Canadian Poetry 37 (1995): 100-13.
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