Lillard, Charles Marion

Charles Marion Lillard, poet, historian, publisher, teacher, logger, fisher (b at Long Beach, Ca 26 Feb 1944; d at Victoria, BC 27 Mar 1997). The son of a fishing couple, Charles Lillard spent much of his childhood on the waters off the southeast coast of Alaska. He is best-known as a chronicler of the Pacific Northwest.

Charles Lillard's first collection of poetry, Cultus Coulee (1971), was published while he was a student at the University of British Columbia, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts. Almost without exception, Lillard's verse is tied to the West Coast; it is a reflective, though unsentimental, rendering of the culture, mythology, and natural beauty of the region. He wrote a total of eight volumes of poetry, including Circling North (1988), awarded the 1989 BC Prize for Poetry (now the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize). His final collection, Shadow Weather: Poems Selected and New (1997), was shortlisted for the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD.

Charles Lillard was a prolific author and wrote several histories, including Seven Shillings a Year: The History of Vancouver Island (1986). The Brother XII (1989), co-written with Ron MacIsaac and Don Clark, departs from the conventional view of the mysterious Vancouver Island cult leader, BROTHER TWELVE, as a charlatan and thief. Charles Lillard was dedicated to making original writing by early British Columbians more accessible. He edited several volumes, including The Ghostland People (1989), a collection of writings about Haida Gwaii, and Warriors of the North Pacific: Missionary Accounts of the Northwest Coast, the Skeena and Sitkine Rivers, and the Klondike, 1829-1900 (1984).

At the time of his death, Charles Lillard was working with Terry Glavin on a history of CHINOOK JARGON, a language Lillard had used on occasion in his poetry. Completed by Glavin, the book was published as A Voice Great Within Us (1998).