by George J. Dance

Anne marriott-0

Anne Marriott (1913-1997). Courtesy ABC Bookworld.

Anne Marriott
Born Joyce Anne Marriott
November 5, 1913
Victoria, British Columbia
Died October 10, 1997 (aged 83)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Occupation Writer
Language English
Nationality Canada Canadian
Genres Poetry
Notable work(s) The Wind Our Enemy
Notable award(s) Governor General's Award

Joyce Anne Marriott[1] (November 5, 1913 - October 10, 1997)[2] was a Governor General's Award-winning Canadian poet. "She was renowned especially for the long poem The Wind, Our Enemy,"[1] which she wrote when still in her 20s.


Because of The Wind Our Enemy, Marriott is often thought to be from a Canadian prairie province.[3] In fact she was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia (the daughter of Catherine [Heley] and Edward Guy Marriott), and lived most of her life in that province.[4]

As a girl she spent several summers with relatives on a farm in Saskatchewan, which formed the basis of experience for many of her earlier poems.[4]

Marriott took creative writing classes at the University of British Columbia. She was active in British Colombia's literary community as "a productive poet and poetry-educator in the 1940s." She served on the editorial board of Contemporary Verse,[1] which she founded with Dorothy Livesay, Floris McLaren, Doris Ferne and Alan Crawley in 1941.[5]

In 1945 Marriott moved to Ottawa and worked as an editor for the National Film Board of Canada.[3] After marrying Gerald McLellan in 1947, Marriot returned with him to British Columbia, where they adopted and raised 3 children.[2]

Marriott worked as a script writer from 1945 to 1949, a reporter and editor from 1950 to 1953, and an assistant librarian from 1953 to 1958.[6] She remained active in the literary community and prepared multiple scripts for the CBC.[2][7]

Following the 1974 death of her husband, she became involved in producing poetry workshops for young people.[5] In the 1980's Marriott published multiple volumes of poetry and a book of short stories.

Marriott died in Vancouver following a stroke.


Marriott is best known for her long poem, The Wind Our Enemy, which she wrote in her 20s.[3] The Wind Our Enemy chronicles the devastation of drought on the Canadian prairies during the 1930s. It is seen as a modernist classic, utilizing "the most vital elements of the modern tradition." It "is episodic and documentary rather than strictly narrative in form." It uses "heavy alliteration and repeated sound patterns" in place of rhyme and rhythm. Its 10 "sections develop in a mosaic made up of compressed details and dramatized speech. In its colloquial rhythms and its concrete language, the poem expressed for a generation of readers the inarticulate suffering of the prairie farmer who saw his land and his hopes blowing away in a cloud of dust."[5]

The poems of Calling Adventurers! were originally written as choruses for a CBC documentary, "Payload," that in Marriott's words " "celebrated the romance and heroism of the northern 'bush flyer' in the era leading up to World War II."[5]

Marriott published 2 other books of poetry in the 1940s. "Both Salt Marsh (1942) and Sandstone, and other poems (1945) contain some vigorous and effective lyrics inspired by prairie scenes. 'Woodyards in the Rain' and 'Prairie Graveyard,' for example, display ... intense feeling."[5] Sandstone, and other poems was her best-known collection.[1]

In The Circular Coast: Poems new and selected (1981), "the west coast landscape is symbolically identified with the body as the poet seeks, in images which are at once precise and complex, to come to terms with the problems of aging, loneliness, and death."[5]

In 1985's Letters from Some Islands, "the poems are about journeys in space and time. Landscapes both strange and familiar are here transformed into metaphors for the aging body."[5]


Marriott won the 1941 Governor General's Award for English language poetry or drama for Calling Adventurers![6]

She won the Women's Canadian Club Literary Award in 1943.[3]

She was awarded a Koerner Foundation scholarship in 1956.[6]

She won the Ohio Award for Educational Broadcasting in 1958.[6]



Short fictionEdit

  • A Long Way to Oregon: Selected short stories. Oakville, ON: Mosaic Press, 1984.

Except where noted, bibliographic information courtesy Brock University.[3]

See alsoEdit


  • Jenefer Curtis, "Lives Lived: Joyce Anne Marriott McLellan," Globe and Mail, November 7, 1997, A18. Web, May 4, 2010.
  • Andrew Stubbs & Jeanette Stein, "Anne Marriott: Frontier poet". Canadian Journal of Poetry 15 (Fall 1984), 48-60. Web, May 4, 2010.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Marriott, Joyce Anne," Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988), 1309.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Curtis, Jenefer, "Lives Lived"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Anne Marriott (1913-1997)", Canadian Woman Poets,, Web, Apr. 21, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stubbs, Andrew and Jeanette Stein, "Anne Marriott: Frontier poet"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Hilda Thomas, "(Joyce) Anne Marriott," Dictionary of Literary Biography,, Web, May 4, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Notes on Life and Works, Marriott, Anne (1913-1997)," Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto,, Web, Apr. 21, 2011.
  7. Donald, B. 'Papers of Anne Marriott', p. 9

External linksEdit

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