Called a "troubadour of the working class" by a Toronto Quill and Quire reporter, Acorn perceived himself as a spokesman of the labourer. One of Canada’s first "public poets," he was a frequent poetry reader in coffee houses in the 1950's, appearing in such well-known coffee houses of that period as The Place, El Cortijo, The Bohemian Embassy, and l'Echourie. He began to publish in New Frontiers in 1952. From 1960-62 Acorn co-edited the magazine Moment, first with Al Purdy and later with Gwendolyn MacEwan, whom he married in 1962. Acorn began to gain recognition as a poet when, in 1963, Contact Press published a collection of Acorn's verse called Jawbreakers and The Fiddlehead devoted its Spring (1963) issue to Acorn's poetry. A poet, writer, and playwright, Milton Acorn was awarded the Canadian Poets award in 1970 and the Governor General's award in 1975 for his collection of poems The Island Means Minago. Acorn died in Charlottetown August 20, 1986.