Michael Oliver

Photo by Patricia 2010


Notes Toward
A Tentative CV


A native of Back Bay, a fishing village on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, I attended UNB as a Beaverbrook Scholar with ambitions to become a physicist.

The authors whom I studied most at university were T. S. Eliot and James Joyce.  I have retained, as well, an admiration for John Keats that dates from high school.

I was member of the first creative writing workshop taught by Kent Thompson in what used to be the Ice House in the shadow of the Old Arts Building.

While I was working on my Master’s thesis at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Professor David Pitt made me aware of the literary theories of Northrop Frye, and I have felt indebted to him ever since – to Frye as well, whose lectures I attended when I could.

I helped to found the literary journal Matrix in the Eastern Townships of Québec.  My first poetry reading happened in North Hatley, along with Ralph Gustafson and D. G. Jones.

I  have published two critical studies of the poet Alden Nowlan – Poet’s Progress in 1978 and Alden Nowlan and His Works in 1990 – based on teaching both his poems and his stories in Canadian literature classes and knowing him as a friend from 1972 until his death in 1983.

My creative  writing focuses on images and symbols that aspire to reflect the limits of reality.  My poems have appeared in many literary journals, such as Alphabet, The Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review, and The Malahat Review, and in several anthologies, including the recently published I Found It at the Movies.

I have taught at various institutions of higher education, including UNB in Saint John, John Abbott College in Montreal, York University in Toronto, the U of A in Edmonton, and UBC in beautiful Vancouver.  I now reside in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with my wife Patricia.

My strong abiding fascination with the sea is what I value most about my heritage.

My firm belief in formal qualities is what I value most about my literary education.