Hughena McCorquodale. All we knew is that she was a member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club some time between 1932 and 1945. Then, out of the blue, an email arrived from her granddaughter, Pam, with a trickle more information. Then a stream. Then a flood. And now we have enough information to fill out a complete biography on Hughena (so named because all first-born in the family for generations had been male, and Hugh… until Hughena). Pam McCorquodale has also generously provided us with a number of scanned articles Hughena wrote. She began writing in the 1920s, but much of what is available is from later in her journalistic career. Hughena was born in Ontario in 1881, and died in Trail, BC, in 1961 after a long and productive life. She was buried in High River, where she had lived for years. We are extremely grateful to Pam for having contacted us, and been so forthcoming with both information about and articles written by her grandmother.
Here’s a nostalgic article by Hughena McCorquodale on “The Old Ontario Farm.”
McCorquodale, H. D. “The Old Ontario Farm.” Willisons Monthly (Toronto) May 1928, 464-67.
Rutherford, Margaret. “Remembrance Day.” 1932. An Anthology of Y. C. Verse: A Volume of Selections from the Verse Contributed by the Young Co-Operators and Published in the Western Producer from 1932-1936. [Saskatoon, SK]: [Western Producer], 1937. 7.
Oh, we are ever blown about by many loves,
We woo the white-armed Peace a little while,
And leaving her when some new impulse moves,
We feel the warmth of battle’s red-lipped smile.
Oh we are turned to many gods and creeds,
We worship angels, pure and free from lust,
But when the God of War comes stridingly
We fall, we fawn and grovel in the dust.
I build new fancies with a dreamer’s hand,
I fashion an Elysium in sand,
But ’tis my dream the day will sometime dawn
When love will be the grain and love the yield,
When Earth shall plant with hands in friendship bound,
A garden fair and not a battlefield.
Once we complete the entry for an author, so it is ready to be coded for display on your computer screens, I run away and find all of the digital information on my hard-drive—images, pdfs of primary texts and biographical articles, poetry copied from various obscure sources—and gather it all into one folder. Mostly I know what we have, but on occasion, I find little gems of poetry I forgot I had. Such is the case with this chapbook by Constance Davies Woodrow. I had intended to post some of the poems individually, but as the text is out of copyright (Woodrow died in 1937), I thought you might like to read the entire delightful little volume (with its introduction by Charles G.D. Roberts) all at once.
Woodrow, Constance Davies. The Captive Gypsy. Intro. Charles G. D. Roberts. Toronto: Ryerson, 1926.
Westacott, Florence. “The Harpsichord Player. “Canadian Poetry Magazine 9.2 (1945): 26.