Way back in September of 2012, I spoke with Lyn Cook on the phone. The call was initiated because of my interest in her work both through our project and my love of Canadian children’s literature. During that call, in amongst a richness of information about her life and family, she let slip that she had published three poetry chapbooks during the 1940s: Fragment, Harvest, and Soliloquy.
“That’s odd,” I commented, “we have no record of them.”
“Well,” she said (and I paraphrase), “I wrote my poetry under my grandmother’s maiden name: Margaret Culverhouse.” (Margaret Culverhouse is actually a combination of Lyn Cook’s middle name with her maternal grandmother’s maiden name.)
The lights went on for me, as Margaret Culverhouse was on our list of poets (as a contributor to the Canadian Poetry Magazine) that I could find absolutely no information about. One mystery solved, but I still had no luck locating the chapbooks. It turns out that the only known copies were those kept by the author and her family. She promised in a subsequent conversation to look them out for me, but it obviously slipped her mind (to give her her due, she was 94 years old at the time, although a very spritely conversationalist). In our entry for Lyn Cook, I had noted (given her comments) that the three poetry chapbooks were published under this pseudonym, but it turns out that my inference was erroneous: there is no publication information on any of the texts.
Yesterday, her son, Christopher Waddell, send me scans of his copies of the three chapbooks, with permission to post them online. I will upload them into the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory collection, but I wanted to share them with you here, as well. So here is the first of the set, Fragment, signed in 1946 to “Judy” (her niece Judy Misener) ,as “memories of a war” during which she worked as a meteorological observer for the Royal Canadian Air Force.