Greg Cook, born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, was nourished by poetry early.The one-room schoolteacher who boarded with him and his mother when his father died liberating the Netherlands in 1944 read classic English poetry to him before he was old enough to go to school. By age six his mother was reading aloud short stories by novelist Ernest Buckler, which Cook says embodied the first affirmation of his rural Canadian experience written by a living Canadian.
As a founding editor of a student literary journal at Acadia University, in 1963 he sought out Alden Nowlan for the elder poet’s first magazine interview to be published in Canada.
Following four years as a reporter with the Mail-Star in Dartmouth Nova Scotia he returned to university to write the first Master’s thesis on the life and work of novelist Ernest Buckler, who Cook met in 1965.
After five years of university teaching Cook served the interim and founding board of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, and subsequently served as its executive director for nine years, while attending founding meetings of writers’ organizations in four other provinces.
He was also elected to the boards of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets; and he was the founding secretary of Canada’s reproduction rights collective Access Copyright.
As one of three poets in his immediate family, Cook has made writers and their survival a professional and personal study, which includes his biography of a close friend of 20 years, One Heart One Way / Alden Nowlan: a writer’s life (Pottersfield Press, 2003), undertaken following a two-year appointment as writer-in-residence at the University of Waterloo.
Cook’s Songs of the Wounded offers new poems as well as selections from his previous five books, including Untying the tongue (Black Moss, 2002).
Cook’s work has been short-listed for two Atlantic Writing Awards – the Booksellers Choice Award, and the Dartmouth Book Award (Non-fiction).