Friday, 20 December 2019

"Give us a brief heart-space to see no sight, Save the One Star in all the crowded night"

Anne Sutherland Brooks was born in Guelph, Ontario, on July 14, 1900. Although Presbyterian, she attended the Catholic Loretto Academy, as well as the Guelph Collegiate Institute. Following this, she earned her teacher's certificate at the London Normal School.

By her mid-twenties, Anne began to attract attention as a poet, with her verses being published in numerous periodicals across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1927, Ryerson Press published her chapbook of poetry titled, Within a Wicket Gate. One of her poems, "Poverty", was published in the New York Times.

In 1929, Archbishop McNeil made a request through the Loretto Sisters for Anne to send him a selection of Christmas poems for his Christmas greeting card.

Letter from Anne Sutherland to Archbishop McNeil
October 31, 1929

Archbishop McNeil Fonds
MN AH18.120
Anne Sutherland Christmas Poems I-III
Sent to Archbishop McNeil
October 31, 1929

Archbishop McNeil Fonds
MN PB03.12
Anne Sutherland Christmas Poems IV-VI
Sent to Archbishop McNeil
October 31, 1929

Archbishop McNeil Fonds
MN PB03.12

In 1930, six of Anne's poems were included in the anthology, Modern Canadian Poetry. As a member of the Toronto branch of the Canadian Authors Association, she was awarded the members' division poetry prize in 1932 and 1933. In 1934, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. included Anne's poem, "The Bird I Do Not Know", in the Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary Anthology. Her poem, "The Empty Little Cabin", was included in The Desk Drawer Anthology: Poems for the American People.

In 1935, Anne married Edward Arnold Brooks. In addition to caring for their children, John Edward Arnold and Anne Elizabeth, Anne Sutherland Brooks continued to recite her poetry and participate in radio broadcasts of children's stories. She passed away in 1996.

We hope you have enjoyed these beautiful Christmas poems, as well as this special slice of Canadian literary history. Merry Christmas from the staff at ARCAT!

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