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Milton Acorn

Milton Acorn, nicknamed "The People's Poet" by his peers, is a Canadian poet, writer, and playwright. He was born March 30, 1923, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and died on August 20, 1986.

Acorn was awarded the Canadian Poets Award in 1970 and the Governor General's Award in 1975 for his collection of poems The Island Means Minago.

In 1987, The Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award was established in his memory. It is presented annually to an outstanding "people's poet." The award is $250 and a medallion, modelled after the one given to Milton Acorn.

The National Film Board of Canada produced two films on Acorn's life and works. The first is entitled In Love and Anger: Milton Acorn - Poet, and came out in 1984. The NFB's abstract of the film reads,

"Milton Acorn left Prince Edward Island in the late 1940s to earn his living as an itinerant carpenter, and wound up in Toronto as one of Canada's most highly regarded poets and one of its most outrageous literary figures. Dubbed "The People's Poet" by fellow poets, he won the Governor General's Literary Award in 1975. Burned out by personal crises, Acorn moved back to Charlottetown in 1981. This film, directed by a P.E.I. filmmaker, brings out Acorn's wit, love of nature, unorthodox political views, and sometimes infuriating personal contradictions."[1]

The second is called A Wake for Milton. It was produced in 1988. The NFB abstract for this film reads, "Canadian poet, Milton Acorn, is remembered with feeling and eloquence in this tribute that takes the form of a wake. Cedric Smith acts as the singer of Acorn's life and art, while such friends as Al Purdy, Pat Lane, and Gwendolyn MacEwen recall the man known as 'The People's Poet.' Evoked here is the unique mixture of intense emotion, wit and radical politics that identified Acorn as a man and a poet." [1]

Published Works, in Chronological Order

(those with an asterisk were published posthumously)

Literary Awards

1970 Canadian Poets' Award, more commonly known as the People's Poet Award, and Medal 1975 Governor General's Award 1977 Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree (from the University of Prince Edward Island)