Book Cover of Bliss Carman


Lifetime: 1861 - 1929 Passed: ≈ 95 years ago





Bliss Carman

William Bliss Carman was a Canadian poet who lived most of his life in the United States, where he achieved international fame. He was acclaimed as Canada's poet laureate during his later years.

In Canada, Carman is classed as one of the Confederation Poets, a group which also included Charles G.D. Roberts (his cousin), Archibald Lampman, and Duncan Campbell Scott. "Of the group, Carman had the surest lyric touch and achieved the widest international recognition. But unlike others, he never attempted to secure his income by novel writing, popular journalism, or non-literary employment. He remained a poet, supplementing his art with critical commentaries on literary ideas, philosophy, and aesthetics."

William Bliss Carman was born on April 15, 1861 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. "Bliss" was his mother's maiden name. He 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. His sister, Jean, married the botanist and historian William Francis Ganong. And on his mother's side he was a first cousin to the siblings Charles (later Sir Charles) G. D. Roberts and Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald.

Carman was educated at the Fredericton Collegiate School and the University of New Brunswick (UNB), from which he received a B.A. in 1881. At the Collegiate School he came under the influence of headmaster George Robert Parkin, who gave him a love of classical literature and introduced him to the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Algernon Charles Swinburne. His first published poem was in the UNB Monthly in 1879. He then spent a year at Oxford and the University of Edinburgh (1882–1883), but returned home to receive his M.A. from UNB in 1884.

Carman died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 68 in New Canaan, and was cremated in New Canaan. "It took two months, and the influence of New Brunswick's Premier J.B.M. Baxter and Canadian Prime Minister W.L.M. King, for Carman's ashes to be returned to Fredericton." "His ashes were buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Fredericton, and a national memorial service was held at the Anglican cathedral there."

Books by Bliss Carman

Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics Cover image

Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics

Sea Poems Prose Birds

The first of more than thirty books of poetry by Canadian poet Bliss Carman. "The poems in this volume have been collected with reference to their similarity of tone. They are variations on a single theme, more or less aptly suggested by the title, L...

The Hearse-Horse Cover image

The Hearse-Horse

Death Poems Verses Mortality Darkness Joys Sorrow

In a world cloaked in twilight's veil, a spectral steed emerges, its ebony coat shimmering under the moon's ethereal glow. It's the Hearse-Horse, a creature of myth and legend, forever bound to the solemn task of guiding the departed to their eternal...

Epilogue Cover image


Love Nature Poems Reflection Emotion Verses Mortality Existence Joys

In the final volume of his acclaimed Songs of the Sea Children, Bliss Carman delivers a poignant and introspective collection of poems that reflect on the themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of nature. With his signature blend of lyrical be...

Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics Cover image

Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics

Love Beauty Poems Verses Experiences Poetry Lyrical

In the realm of literature, few names evoke such enduring fascination as Sappho, the enigmatic Greek poet whose verses have captivated and inspired readers for millennia. In Bliss Carman's "Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics," the essence of this extraordina...

Vagabond Song Cover image

Vagabond Song

LibriVox volunteers bring you fifteen different recordings of A Vagabond Song, by Bliss Carman, to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox. This was the weekly poetry project for the week of September 24th, 2006.

Ballads of Lost Haven: A Book of the Sea Cover image

Ballads of Lost Haven: A Book of the Sea

This collection of lyric poems evokes the sea in every line, from birth (A Son of the Sea) to death (Outbound). The smells, sights and sounds of the Canada's East Coast feature prominently. (Summary by Sean Michael Hogan)

Song of the Kicking Horse Cover image

Song of the Kicking Horse

LibriVox volunteers bring you 13 recordings of Song of the Kicking Horse by Bliss Carman. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for September 26th, 2010.

Songs from Vagabondia Cover image

Songs from Vagabondia

This is the famous collection "Songs from Vagabondia", a collaboration between Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey, which at once catapulted both poets to extensive fame. The poems in this volume are widely read until today, as they carry a lot of meaning...

At Sunrise Cover image

At Sunrise

Canada has full right to be proud of her poets, a small body though they are; but not only does Mr. Carman stand high and clear above them all—his place (and time cannot but confirm and justify the assertion) is among those men whose poetry is the sh...

Behind the Arras: A Book of the Unseen Cover image

Behind the Arras: A Book of the Unseen

This is a volume of some of Bliss Carman's most beautiful narrative poems. All of the poems share a rather melancholy tone, which Carman uses to bring out beautiful images of feeling. - Summary by Carolin

By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies Cover image

By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies

This is a small volume of beautiful melancholy verses by Canadian poet Bliss Carman. The poems share a common theme which is the death of persons known and unknown to the poet. - Summary by Carolin

Premonition Cover image


LibriVox volunteers bring you 16 recordings of Premonition by Bliss Carman. This was the Weekly Poetry project for October 27, 2019. ------ William Bliss Carman, FRSC was a Canadian poet who lived most of his life in the United States, where he ach...

Nocturne: In Anjou Cover image

Nocturne: In Anjou

LibriVox volunteers bring you 19 recordings of Nocturne: In Anjou by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey. This was the Weekly Poetry project for November 10, 2019. ------ Richard Hovey collaborated with Canadian poet Bliss Carman on three volumes of "t...