Milton James Rhode Acorn, nicknamed The People's Poet by his peers, was a Canadian poet, writer, and playwright. He was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
Acorn was a World War II veteran. On a trans-Atlantic crossing, he suffered a wound from depth charges. The wound was severe enough for him to receive a disability pension from Veterans Affairs for most of his life. He returned to Prince Edward Island and moved to Montreal in 1956. He spent several years living at the Hotel Waverly in Toronto.
In Montreal, he published some of his early poems in the political magazine, New Frontiers. He also self-published a mimeographed chapbook, In Love and Anger, his first collection of poems.
He was for a short time married to poet Gwendolyn MacEwen
In 1967, Acorn helped found the then-"underground" newspaper The Georgia Straight in Vancouver, BC.
Acorn was awarded the Canadian Poets Award in 1970 and the Governor General's Award in 1976 for his collection of poems, The Island Means Minago.
In July 1986, he suffered a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital. Acorn died in his home town of Charlottetown on August 20, 1986, due to complications associated with his heart condition and diabetes. According to fellow poet and close friend Warren Kinthompson, he had "lost his will to live after the death of a younger sister."