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#199 Alfred Bailey: The Fiddlehead Founder

October 19, 2009

BP: The Alfred G. Bailey Auditorium, at Tilley Hall, UNB, Fredericton, NB

FiddleheadOn the title page of every issue of The Fiddleheadone of Canada’s best literary magazinescan be found this prose snippet from Alfred Bailey, originally printed in the debut 1945 issue:

“…a fiddlehead, that small plant that grows in the Saint John River valley in the spring, and which is said to be symbolic of the sun.”

Bailey had a long academic career at the University of New Brunswick and is considered by many to an iconic figure in New Brunswick literary history. 

M. Travis Lane, in an article for the journal Canadian Poetry, has quoted and commented on the haunting Bailey stanza that includes the lines:

unless they could make utterance
of the holy names
there would be no way out
and no end of the night county
(From “Night Country,” Miramichi Lightning: The Collected Poems of Alfred Bailey, 1981)

Bailey’s last book, the elementally-named The Sun, the Wind, The Summer Field, appeared in 1996.

THE GEO-BIBLIOGRAPHY:

The Alfred G. Bailey Auditorium, at Tilley Hall, UNB, Fredericton, NB;      

Songs of the Saguenay, and Other Poems. Quebec: Chronicle-Telegraph Pub. Co. 1927.
Tâo. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1930.
Border River. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1952.
Thanks For A Drowned Island. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1973.
Miramichi Lightning: The Collected Poems of Alfred Bailey. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1981.
The Sun, the Wind, the Summer Field. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 1996.

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