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Douglas Lochhead, 1922-2011

Douglas Lochhead, the poet laureate of Sackville, New Brunswick, died Tuesday in a Westmorland-area nursing home. He was 88.

Lochhead was named the first-ever lifetime poet laureate for the town in 2002. From Lochhead’s obituary at Sackville’s official website:

Sackville is blessed to have had Douglas Lochhead as a resident, poet and friend. One of his works can be read in downtown Sackville. [Thirty-one] verses of “High Marsh Road” are displayed on panels on the town’s utility poles from the corner of Bridge and Main Street and continue toward the entrance of the Sackville Waterfowl Park.

In recognition of his work in letters, the poet and scholar was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1976, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in 1981, and won the 2005 Carlo Betocchi International Poetry Prize and the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in English-language Literary Arts. His final poetry collection, Looking Into Trees, was published in 2009 by Sybertooth.

Long before his first published book of poetry, Lochhead served in the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War. He also led a long and varied career in libraries, working his way through Victoria College (now University of Victoria), Cornell University, Dalhousie University, York University, and University of Toronto, and as a professor at York, U of T, and Mount Allison University, where he was the director of Canadian Studies. At the time of his retirement in 1990, Lochhead was writer-in-residence at Mount Allison.

A visitation will be held March 18th from 7-9 p.m. at Jones Funeral Home in Sackville and the funeral service will be March 19th at the Mount Allison University Chapel at 2 p.m., followed by a reception the university’s Owens Art Gallery.

Notes of condolence can be sent through the Jones Funeral Home.