This Week in History
A Poet Laureate in Retrospect : Isabella Valancy Crawford
For the week of Monday February 6, 2006
February 12th, 1887, marks the death of one of Canada’s most notable early female writers of poetry and prose, Isabella Valancy Crawford.
Isabella’s father died in 1875. The following year, with all but one of her 11 siblings also dead by then, it became clear to Isabella that it would be up to her to support both herself and her mother through her writing.
Nevertheless, her work remains notable because of the imaginative way it responds to the Canadian landscape and society in which she grew up. Her most anthologized poem is entitled, Malcolm’s Katie which tells a typically early Canadian love story set in a new world of lumbering and farming. Isabella received very little recognition during her lifetime; it was only in the 1970s with the discovery of previously unpublished manuscripts that the literary community began to study her work seriously.
Isabella Valancy Crawford was designated a National Historic Person 1945 and in 1983, nearly a century after her death, a commemorative plaque was erected in Scott’s Plains Park in Peterborough, Ontario close to the location of her former home.
- Date Modified: