So little is known about the poet Robert Nash. Until the 21st century, when his poems were discovered in a French basement, he remained undiscovered. The poems had been written in Maine and sent to Nash’s friend in France, to be discovered by the friend’s son decades later in a suitcase.
Nash emigrated to America from Sussex, England, when he was a child. He lived in Maine with his wife Catriona and son Lee, and likely didn’t turn to writing poetry until his life took a tragic turn. Lee was killed in 1974 in Vietnam. Catriona died two years later. On May 31, 1995, one week after writing his last dated poem, Robert Nash disappeared. Anything else about Nash’s life is speculation and hypothesis. No trace has ever been found and no family or heirs have claimed him.
But the poems he left behind demonstrate a true mastery of the craft and reveal his profound solitude and his intimate and healing relationship with nature. In his introduction, former Maine Poet Laureate finds Nash’s place in the Maine literary canon. Robert Nash has come home.
Originally written in French (for his friend who didn’t speak English) and published in France in three separate volumes, these poems have been lovingly translated back to the poet’s native language by Françoise Canter.
Robert Nash was born in 1930 in Eastbourne, near Sussex, England, and later emigrated to the United States his family. Some twenty years after the deaths of his son and wife, Nash disappeared from his Maine home. No trace has ever been found.
Francoise Canter was born in Paris and moved to the United States in 1989. She lives in Seattke and teaches French and comparative literature at The Northwest School.