Acorn, Milton

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Acorn, Milton

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Milton Acorn, poet (b at Charlottetown 30 Mar 1923; d there 20 Aug 1986).
He began to publish in New Frontiers in 1952. His first collection of verse, In Love and Anger (1956) was privately issued in Montréal, where he later co-edited the little magazine Moment (7 issues, February 1960 to June 1962), first with A. W. Purdy and later with Gwendolyn MacEwen, whom he married in 1962. In 1963 Contact Press published a small collection of his verse called Jawbreakers and The Fiddlehead devoted its spring issue to Acorn's poetry. This, combined with a chapbook, The Brain's the Target (1960), with Ryerson Press, and a broadside, Against a League of Liars (1961), helped to give him wider recognition.

He moved to Vancouver in the middle 1960s where he became well known as a passionate and argumentative member of the literary and journalistic underground. Passed over for the Governor General's Award for his first major collection, I've Tasted My Blood (1969), Acorn was honoured by fellow poets with a specially created People's Poet Award which recognized his ability as a writer as well as his nationalist and activist stance.

In 1971 he published I Shout Love and On Shaving off his Beard, a 2-poem sequence of private reflection and political invective which was not widely distributed, and in 1972, More Poems for People which he dedicated to Dorothy Livesay. In 1975 his collection of poems, The Island Means Minago, won the Governor General's Award, and Acorn settled into his role of established enfant terrible of Canadian poetry. Jackpine Sonnets came out in 1977, and Captain Neal MacDougal & the Naked Goddess subtitled, "A Demi-Prophetic Work as a Sonnet-Series" in 1982. Dig up my Heart: Selected Poems 1952-1983, appeared in 1983 and is the most complete and representative collection of Acorn's poetry.


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