by George J. Dance


Elizabeth Brewster (1922-2012). Courtesy

Elizabeth Winifred Brewster, CM (August 26, 1922 - December 26, 2012) was a Canadian poet and academic.[1]

Life Edit

Brewster was born in Chipman, New Brunswick, a small logging town. She began writing poetry at the age of 9 or 10.[2]

She earned a B.A. degree from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 1946, an M.A. from Radcliffe College in 1947, a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Toronto in 1952, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1962.[2] At UNB, she was a member of Alfred Bailey's Bliss Carman Society, and a founding member of The Fiddlehead poetry magazine in 1945.[3]

During the 1950s and 1960s she worked as a librarian at libraries across Canada, including the New Brunswick Legislative Library.[2]

She taught English at the University of Victoria, 1960-1961, and at the University of Alberta, 1970-1971. She began teaching English at the University of Saskatchewan in 1972, and remained there until her retirement as a full professor in 1990.[4]

In 1951 Ryerson Press issued her debut poetry collection, East Coast.[4] She began writing fiction in the 1970's, publishing her earliest novel in 1974 and an early collection of short stories in 1977.[2]

She was a life member of the League of Canadian Poets.[4]


New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia: "During her long and prestigious career, Brewster embraced a variety of styles. Originally published in the era of second-generation Canadian modernism, her early poetry is clearly modernist. By eschewing the grandiose metaphors and erudite vocabulary popular in that era, however, her poems favour a colloquial voice that seems on the surface to be almost prosaic. Beneath her straightforward diction dwells great intelligence and a shrewd eye for powerful, if subdued, details."[2]

Recognition Edit

Brewster received a honorary doctorate from UNB in 1982.[2]

She was given a Lifetime Award for excellence in the arts from the Saskatchewan Arts Board in 1985.[4]

Her poetry collection Footnotes to the Book of Job was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for English language poetry in 1996.[2]

In 2001, she became a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor.[2]

Her poetry was anthologized in the Penguin Book of Canadian Verse and other publications.



  • East Coast. Toronto: Ryerson, 1951.
  • Lillooet. Toronto: Ryerson, 1954.
  • Roads and other poems. Toronto: Ryerson, 1957.
  • Five New Brunswick Poets (Elizabeth Brewster, Fred Cogswell, Robert Gibbs, Alden Nowlan, Kay Smith). Fredericton, NB: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1962.[5]
  • Passage of Summer: Selected poems. Toronto: Ryerson, 1969.
  • Sunrise North. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1972.
  • In Search of Eros. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1974.
  • Sometimes I Think of Moving. Ottawa: Oberon, 1977.
  • The Way Home. Ottawa: Oberon, 1982.
  • Digging In. Ottawa: Oberon, 1982.
  • Selected Poems, 1944-1977. Ottawa: Oberon, 1985.
  • Selected Poems, 1977-1984. Ottawa: Oberon, 1985.
  • Entertaining Angels. Ottawa: Oberon, 1988.
  • Spring Again. Ottawa: Oberon, 1990.
  • Wheel of Change. Ottawa: Oberon, 1993.
  • Footnotes to the Book of Job. Ottawa: Oberon, 1995.
  • Garden of Sculpture. Ottawa: Oberon, 1998.
  • Burning Bush. Ottawa: Oberon, 2000.
  • Jacob's Dream. Ottawa: Oberon, 2002.
  • Collected Poems of Elizabeth Brewster 1. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 2004.[6]
  • Collected Poems of Elizabeth Brewster 2. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 2004.
  • Bright Centre. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 2005.
  • Time and Seasons. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 2009.

Musical settings of poemsEdit

  • Winter flowers: for alto soloist, chorus & orchestra. Music by Nancy Telfer, c.1980, words by Elizabeth Brewster.
  • The Ballad of Princess Caraboo (with music by Nancy Telfer). Oakville, ON: F. Harris Music, 1983.


  • The Sisters. Ottawa: Oberon, 1974.
  • Junction. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1982.

Short fictionEdit

  • It's Easy to Fall on the Ice: Ten stories. Ottawa: Oberon, 1977.
  • A House Full of Women. (stories) Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1983.
  • Visitations. (stories) Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1987.


  • The Invention of Truth (memoir). Ottawa: Oberon, 1991.
  • Away From Home (memoir). Ottawa: Oberon, 1995.
Where i come from elizabeth brewster

Where i come from elizabeth brewster

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy Brock University.[7]

See also Edit



  1. Elizabeth Brewster, Web, May 16, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Justin Joschko, Elizabeth Brewster, New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia, Spring 2009, St. Thomas University. Web, Mar. 30, 2017.
  3. Introduction, Fiddlehead/Cogswell papers (UARG83), UNB Archives,, Web, Oct. 29, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Bob Ivanochko, "Elizabeth Brewster," Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, University of Regina,, Web, Oct. 29, 2011.
  5. Greg Cook, Selected Bibliography of Works by Alden Nowlan, English-Canadian Writers, Centre for Language and Literature, Athabasca University,, Web, June 9, 2012.
  6. Jean Wilson, "Brewster, Elizabeth Winifred," Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Foundation-Dominion Institute,, Web, Oct. 29, 2011.
  7. Elizabeth Brewster 1922 -, Canadian Women Poets, Brock University,, Web, July 1, 2012.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
Original Penny's Poetry Pages article, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0.
This is a signed article by User:George Dance. It may be edited for spelling errors or typos, but not for substantive content except by its author. If you have created a user name and verified your identity, provided you have set forth your credentials on your user page, you can add comments to the bottom of this article as peer review.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.