|Jane Elizabeth MacDonald|
Macdonald in Canadian Poets, 1916
Jane Elizabeth Gostwycke Roberts|
February 17, 1864
Westcock, New Brunswick
November 8 1922|
|Alma mater||University of New Brunswick|
|Spouse(s)||Samuel Archibald Roberts MacDonald|
|Children||2 sons, 1 daughter (Archibald G., Cuthbert Goodridge, Hilary)|
|Relative(s)||Charles G.D. Roberts, brother|
Jane Elizabeth Gostwycke MacDonald (February 17, 1864 - November 8, 1922) was a Canadian poet and children's writer. She was the sister of Confederation Poet Sir Charles G.D. Roberts, the cousin of Bliss Carman, and the father of poet Goodridge MacDonald.
Jane Elizabeth Gostwycke Roberts was born in Westcock, New Brunswick, to Emma Wetmore Bliss and Anglican clergyman Rev. George Goodridge Roberts. Charles G.D. Roberts was her elder brother; William Carman Roberts and Theodore Goodridge Roberts were her younger brothers. The Roberts family "provided her with an early home-schooled education and raised her in a creative household that exposed her to a world of great literary thinkers. Her later recollection of this environment inspired Our Little Canadian Cousin (1904), which she based on her own upbringing."
She published poetry in literary periodicals, including The Century Magazine, The Independent, and Outing Magazine. In 1885 her father paid to privately publish her first book of poetry, Poems. In 1889 her brother Charles recommended her poetry to William Douw Lighthall, who included her poem "In the Golden Birch" in his anthology, Songs of the Great Dominion.
In 1899 her poetry was included in Northland Lyrics, a book of verse by the 3 Roberts siblings, Elizabeth and her brothers Theodore and William.
MacDonald began publishing short stories in New York Churchman and Peterson's, American magazines with a wide circulation. In 1904 she published a children's book, Our Little Canadian Cousin, which was reprinted several times.
In 1906 her second book of poetry, Dream Verses, and others, was published "and well received by critics." Poet and critic John Garvin praised her "instinctive knowledge and love of nature and the exquisite fancy and touch, so characteristic of this family."
The McDonalds moved to Nelson, British Columbia in 1912, and then to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1914. There is evidence that her family was concerned about her welfare at the time, possibly because her husband had a problem with alcohol. She left her husband in 1915, moving with her sons to Ottawa, Ontario.
MacDonald produced "a trickling of new poems" in 1916. When her publisher refused John Garvin permission to use her poetry from Dream Verses in his 1916 anthology, Canadian Poets, MacDonald sent him eight previously unpublished poems, which he printed.
MacDonald worked for women's suffrage and wrote feminist essays. She died suddenly, at home in Ottawa, in 1922.
The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia says that "her preferred rhythms were simple and rhyming," citing her poem "Poppies" as an example: "When all the world was white with snow / I dreamed of poppies, row on row"(1-2). It notes MacDonald's 1916 poem, "The Whispering Poplars," as an example of "her ability to make words come alive:"
I hear the whispering poplars
In the hollow by my door;
They sound like fairy waters
Beside a magic shore. (1-4)
In a Dalhousie Review essay, critic Hilary Thompson argued that "'Because of a philosophy that early childhood holds the "dream" world from which poetic inspiration and a sense of immortality emanate', ... Elizabeth chose to superimpose the comforting feeling associated with youthful fancy on present events in her life."
- Poems. Fredericton, NB: privately published, 1885.
- William Carman Roberts, Theodore Roberts, & Elizabeth Roberts Macdonald, Northland Lyrics (selected and arranged with a prologue by Charles G.D. Roberts and an epilogue by Bliss Carman). Boston: Small, Maynard, 1899.
- Dream Verses, and others. Toronto, ON: Copp, Clark, Co., 1906.
- "In The Golden Birch," in Songs of the Great Dominion: Voices from the Forests and Waters, the Settlements and Cities of Canada. (edited by William Douw Lighthall). London, UK.: Walter Scott, 1889.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Nigel Alexander Bone & Laura Hennebury, "Jane Elizabeth MacDonald," New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia, St. Thomas University, STU.ca, Web, June 10, 2011.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald fonds: Biographical Sketch," Harriet Irving Library, UNB.ca, Web, June 10, 2011.
- ↑ William Douw Lighthall, Songs of the Great Dominion: Voices from the Forests and Waters, the Settlements and Cities of Canada (Walter Scott [Windsor Series], 1889), Google Books, Web, June 10, 2011.
- ↑ John Garvin, "Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald", Canadian Poets (Toronto: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1916), 221, A Celebration of Women Writers, UPenn.edu, Web, June 10, 2011.
- ↑ Northland Lyrics (1899), Internet Archive, Web, Nov. 25, 2012.
- "In the Golden Birch" by Elizabeth Gostwycke Roberts in A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895
- 2 poems by MacDonald: "The Whispering Poplars", "A Madrigal".
- Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald in Canadian Poets: 8 poems (The Whispering Poplars, Flood Tide, Mountain Ash, March Wind, Harvest, Reassurance, The Shepherd, A Madrigal).
- Northland Lyrics at Early Canadiana Online.
- Jane Elizabeth MacDonald in the New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia.
- MacDonald, Jane Elizabeth Gostwycke Roberts at Canada's Early Women Writers
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