Celebrated as a novelist and made famous by her novel Anne of Green Gables and its sequels, L.M. Montgomery (1874–1942) is far less known for also writing and publishing hundreds of poems over a period of half a century.Although this output included a chapbook and a full-length collection in which she presented herself primarily as a nature poet, most of her poems appeared in periodicals, including women’s magazines, farm papers, faith-based periodicals, daily and weekly newspapers, and magazines for children. As a shrewd businesswoman, she learned to find the balance between literary quality and commercial saleability and continued to publish poetry even though it paid less than short fiction.
A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921, the second volume in The L.M. Montgomery Library, gathers a selection of fifty poems originally published across a twenty-five-year period. Benjamin Lefebvre organizes this work within the context of Montgomery’s life and career, claiming her not only as a nature poet but also as the author of a wider range of "songs": of place, of memory, of lamentation, of war, of land and sea, of death, and of love. Many of these poems echo motifs that readers of Montgomery’s novels will recognize, and many more explore surprising perspectives through the use of male speakers. These poems offer today’s readers a new facet of the career of Canada’s most enduringly popular author.
About the authors
Lucy Maud Montgomery had her first poem published at the age of 15 and after completing college she worked for a short time as a journalist before becoming a teacher. In 1908 Anne of Green Gables was published to huge acclaim with Anne of Avonlea coming soon after. Many successful novels followed but by late 1930s, due to personal troubles, illness and depression, she stopped writing. Lucy Maud Montgomery died in 1942 and was buried on her beloved Prince Edward Island.
Benjamin Lefebvre editor of The L.M. Montgomery Library, is director of L.M. Montgomery Online. His publications include an edition of Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and the three-volume critical anthology The L.M. Montgomery Reader, which won the 2016 PROSE Award for Literature from the Association of American Publishers. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
"The collection of fifty poems published over a twenty-five-year period, beginning in 1894 with the first, is not only the second volume in The L.M. Montgomery Library but a step in a major reconsideration of her poetry."