Books, Literary Notes, etc [Bliss Carman]

Books, Literary Notes, etc [Bliss Carman]

Books, Literary Notes, Etc.

Bliss Carman

“Poets are reputed to walk with their heads in the clouds,” says the Canadian Bookman, “and Mr. Carman actually comes near to this description. He is over six feet two. His fine head is crowned with proper ‘poet’s hair.’ He has noble features, a mobile mouth, a characteristic nose and chin and dreamy eyes that seem to see into the far distance…Eyes that seek and find a wide horizon: that break into laughter…quicksilver eyes.”
That the poet is not altogether a dreamer, however, is shown in his significant remarks anent the Canadian copyright law.
“That the peculiar species,” says Carman, “known as the Canadian authors will become extinct shortly, because of the effect of this law, and therefore I advise you to patronize your writers at once while they are still in the land of the living.”
When an interviewer from the Bookman recently called upon the poet, after exclaiming “God help you!” Mr. Carman said:
“The only thing on which I can fire off an opinion as if it were a gun is in regard to the Canadian copyright act. Unless we can have one that is decent and honest, Canada will have no literature; only printers and publishers. However, as we, people or nations, get what we want and what we deserve we certainly won’t get literature. Judging by the copyright act, Canadians don’t want literature.”
Bliss Carman comes of a family of scholars and litterateurs. On his mother’s side he is a lineal descendant of Daniel Bliss, of Concord, one of the most famous and powerful ministers of his time, and great-grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is a cousin of Charles G. D. Roberts, and in the recent book by Lloyd Roberts on the Roberts family, some illuminating and humorous stories are told of “Uncle Bliss,” who talked with the children man to man as if they were of his own age, and addressed each one as “old man.”
Carman’s sense of humor has always been a delight to his friends, and numerous stories are told to illustrate this. Especially characteristic is the following story:
It seems that Mr. Carman lost a poem in the great Pennsylavnian station in New York city, and failing to find it he appealed to a policeman to assist him. That burly representative of the law surveyed him with amazement, not unmixed with tolerant humor.
“A poem, is it! Sure ‘tis no great loss. Can’t you be writing another one thin?”
Bliss Carman lowered his voice confidentially, and plucking the policeman by the sleeve, he whispered in his ear:
“Certainly, but you see, that poem was wrapped around a perfectly good sandwich!”
Mr. Carman is due in Calgary on February 8, when he will be heard in recital at the Central Methodist church.


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People Mentioned

Leean Wu

Leean is an Honours English language and literature student at the University of British Columbia and a research assistant for The Winnifred Eaton Archive. She was an undergraduate teaching assistant for the UBC Coordinated Arts Program for two years and a research assistant for the UBC Public Humanities Hub.

Winnifred Eaton

  • Born: August 21, 1875
  • Died: April 08, 1954
See the Biographical Timeline for biographical information on Winnifred Eaton.

Pseudonym used in this text

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and a Developer at Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). He is a graduate of the M.A. program in English at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in Indigenous and diasporic literature, science and technology studies, and the digital humanities.

Mary Chapman

Mary Chapman is the Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive, a Professor of English, and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at University of British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning monograph Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford UP) and of numerous articles about American literature and women writers. She has also edited Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (McGill-Queen’s UP) and published essays on the Eaton sisters in American Quarterly, MELUS, Legacy, Canadian Literature, and American Periodicals. Her current research project is a microhistory of the Eaton family. For more information, see

Bliss Carman

Canadian poet.

Organizations Mentioned


Also known as the Calgary Albertan. First established as the Calgary Tribune in 1886. Would be called variations of the Albertan from 1899 until 1980. Had a variety of names until the newspaper was sold to the Toronto Sun Publishing Corporation and renamed the Calgary Sun in 1980.
Written by Samantha Bowen, Joey Takeda, and Mary Chapman


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