By Gerald Lynch
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Additional info for Bliss Carman: A Reappraisal
His taste in modern literature encompassed a wide range of American writing, from the sentimental doggerel of James Whitcomb Riley to the experimentalism of Walt Whitman. 44 But it was especially the early years and the first contacts of this long residence in the United States that helped shape Carman's literary career. As he moved on from Harvard to professional activity in New York and Boston, he developed from a somewhat naive and idealistic provincial poet to a knowledgeable professional writer and editor.
Carman's own "Prayer in the Rose Garden," in the second issue, attempts to relate an Emersonian notion of spiritual evolution to a principle of natural order and beauty. Gilbert Parker's "There is an Orchard," in the issue of November 1, 1894, involves a similar image, incorporated into a romantic love lyric; and Archibald Lampman's "Inter Vias," of January 15, 1895, is a Poe-like withdrawal to a visionary land of supreme beauty. The Chap-Book thus offered Carman, as contributor and editor, freedom in his own poetic composition and the opportunity to bring a more comprehensive view of Canadian literature to an American audience.
And Earle Birney once made Carman's past even more contemporary for me. He told me a story about Carman in New Canaan, which I believe is a town somewhere in New England. It seems Carman had a mistress named Mary Perry King. She lived with her husband in New Canaan; Carman too lived, rather fortuitously, in the same small town. And each of these three must have made generous allowances for the other two. Carman used to walk to his mistress's house every morning. And Doctor King walked to work as well, at the same time and on the same street.
Bliss Carman: A Reappraisal by Gerald Lynch