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Brewster, Elizabeth (1922-)

Elizabeth Brewster, 1983.
Richard Marjan (Saskatchewan Archives Board) S-SP-A20070-4, Saskatoon Starphoenix Fonds

Elizabeth Brewster, the poet and writer, was born on August 26, 1922, in Chipman, New Brunswick. She earned a BA from the University of New Brunswick in 1946, a Masters from Radcliffe College (Harvard) in 1947, a library science degree from the University of Toronto in 1953, and a PhD from Indiana University in 1962. She worked in a number of university libraries (Carleton, Indiana, Mount Allison, Alberta) and at the New Brunswick Legislative Library between 1953 and 1970. She taught English at the University of Victoria (1960-61), the University of Alberta (1970-71), and then at the University of Saskatchewan from 1972 until her retirement in 1990. She is currently a Professor Emerita and lives in Saskatoon.

Brewster has been writing and publishing, mainly poetry, for more than fifty years. Her poems appeared in early issues of The Fiddlehead, and her first chapbook, East Coast, was published by Ryerson in 1951. She published seven books of poems, a novel, and a short story collection before moving to Saskatoon and has since published ten more books of poetry and five works of prose, principally by Oberon Press. Brewster has published three selections of her poetic work: Passage of Summer: Selected Poems (1969); Selected Poems of Elizabeth Brewster, 1944-1984 in two volumes (1985); and Footnotes to the Book of Job, which includes new poems as well as selected poems from three books published after 1985. She has also published two novels: The Sisters (1974) and Junction (1982), as well as two poetic memoirs, The Invention of Truth (1991), and Away from Home (1995). She identifies with the east in her memories of her past; her writings of the Prairies are from the perspective of an outside observer seeking reference points. Brewster is a member of the Order of Canada, received the award for Lifetime Excellence in the Arts from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and is a Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Bob Ivanochko

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