In this post and the next, I’ll reveal some of the characters associated with The Book of Roberts and, especially, those whose signatures appear on the little pamphlet that was tucked into my copy.
Alfred M. Pound: An Important Character
I need to begin with Mr. Pound, as I did him an injustice in the first part of this post. I was working from his signature on the pamphlet, and to my eye, initially, it looked like his first two initials were A. W. That got me precisely nowhere.
It was only after becoming increasingly frustrated trying to learn anything about a poet of even minor note who came from St. John and had those initials that it occurred to me that I might have misread one or both of the initials. Sure enough!
When I began searching for A. M. Pound, a St. John poet (once upon a time), things began to click. In fact, it looked like Mr. Pound might just be a key to unravelling other related mysteries.
Alfred Myrick Pound (1869-1932), as it turns out, was, in his early years, on the staff of the St. John Telegraph. Around 1900 he moved from Atlantic Canada to the Pacific, settling in Vancouver where he ultimately partnered with a chap called Champion to form the law firm Champion & Pound. He was later a Vancouver Harbour Commissioner.
Pound, it seems, was never much of a poet (certainly not in terms of quantity of output; I’m not in a position to pass judgement on the quality of his poems). But Pound was a Canadian literature aficionado at a time when such folks weren’t exactly thick on the ground, and he had the resources to assemble an impressive collection of poetry and other literary forms produced by Canadians up until his death. In 1945, his daughters presented UBC Library with his collection.
Notably, Pound specialized in collecting the works of his friends, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts and Sir Charles’ cousin, Bliss Carmen (two of the top stars within the Canadian galaxy of poets). These two will undoubtedly pop up again later!
Next time, more characters will be revealed…