by George J. Dance


Charles Bruce (1906-1971). Courtesy Vehicule Press.

Charles J. Bruce (1906 - December 19, 1971) was a Governor General's Award-winning Canadian poet and newspaperman.


Charles Bruce was born in 1906 in Port Shoreham, Nova Scotia.[1] He grew up there, on the north shore of Nova Scotia's Chedabucto Bay.[2]

He was educated at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, from which he graduated in 1927.[1]

During the late 1920s, he was a member of The Song Fishermen.[3]

He went to work for the Canadian Press, working in Halifax, Toronto, and London, England.[1]

He died in Toronto on December 19, 1971.[1]


Bruce's Nova Scotia childhood formed the subject matter of his most successful collection of poetry, The Mulgrave Road. The book "conveyed the maritime details of those early experiences in clear, direct, metrical verse" – verse Bruce endorsed as "simple and stirring and understandable without drifting into banality, using the concrete terms of life."[2]

Neither verse nor regionalism were in vogue at the time, and the book got some unfavorable reviews. One complained of its "trite universals which meet on the fair-weather ground of inadequate and uninspired words,” while another declared that it "reaches into the backwaters which the busy world has bypassed.”[2]

Northrop Frye praised The Mulgrave Road as "consistently successful."[2]


The Mulgrave Road won the Governor General's Award for English language poetry or drama in 1952.[2]

A.J.M. Smith and Ralph Gustafson included Bruce's poetry in their anthologies, the Oxford Book of Canadian Verse and the Penguin Book of Canadian Verse .[2]



  • Wild Apples. Sackville, NB: Tribune Press, 1927.
  • Tomorrow's Tide. Toronto: Macmillan, 1932.
  • Personal Note. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1941.
  • Grey Ship Moving, and other poems. Toronto: Ryerson Press / London: British Authors' Press, 1945.
  • The Flowing Summer. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1947.
  • The Mulgrave Road. Toronto, Macmillan, 1951.
  • The Mulgrave Road: Selected poems of Charles Bruce.(edited by Andy Wainwright and Lesley Choyce). Porters Lake, NS: Pottersfield Press, 1985.


  • The Channel Shore. Toronto: Macmillan, 1954.

Short fictionEdit

  • The Township of Time: A chronicle. Toronto: Macmilan, 1959.


  • News and the Southams. Toronto: Macmillan, 1968.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Charles Bruce ," Canadian Books & Authors,, Web, July 4, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Charles Bruce ," Vehicule Press, Web, July 4, 2011.
  3. Gwendolyn Davies, "Song Fishermen," Encyclopedia of Canadian History, 8122,, Web, Apr. 15, 2011.
  4. Search results = au:Charles Bruce, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 19, 2014.

External linksEdit

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