League of Canadian Poets Announces the Winners of the 2019 Book Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2019

The League of Canadian Poets Announces the Winners of
the 2019 Book Awards

Monday, June 10, 2019, Toronto, ON: The League of Canadian Poets is excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Book Awards, including the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the Raymond Souster Award, and the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Spoken Word.

The winners were announced on Saturday, June 8, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at a special awards ceremony held during the League of Canadian Poets’ Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting.

Congratulations to the winners for their fine work. Many continued thanks to the jurors for their dedication to this year’s awards. Visit poets.ca/awards for complete information.

Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized authors’ tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes a debut book of poetry published by a Canadian. The award carries a $2,000 prize and is sponsored by the LCP.

2019 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Shortlist:

  • Ekke by Klara du Plessis (Palimpsest Press)
  • Quarry by Tanis Franco (University of Calgary Press)
  • Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit by Mikko Harvey (House of Anansi Press)
  • Dividing the Wayside by Jenny Haysom (Palimpsest Press)
  • Obits. by Tess Liem (Coach House Books)
  • Port of Being by Shazia Hafiz Ramji (Invisible Publishing)

The Winner of the 2019 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is: Tess Liem for Obits. (Coach House Books)

Jury’s Comments: “Tess Liem’s Obits. is a rare success for any book, let alone a debut. Namely, it manages to create what feels like an entire intellectual world: whole ethics, aesthetics, aspirations, fears, and philosophies, line by line and trope by trope. The book takes real risks dangling over the edge of amateurism with its emotive openers and its centre-alignment, and relies on nothing but prosody and guts to win a skeptical reader back. It contains one of the most complete treatments of depression in Canadian poetry and an expansive, challenging, new approach to the idea of mourning. Most importantly, Liem’s ability to manage the collection itself as a gestalt object, tying images to one another across pages and reusing titles, sounds, and lines, is downright symphonic. It feels like someone’s life’s work.”

2019 Jury: Adebe DeRango-Adem, Amanda Earl, Jacob McArthur Mooney

Pat Lowther Memorial Award
The Pat Lowther Memorial Award is given for a book of poetry by a Canadian woman, and is in memory of the late Pat Lowther, whose career was cut short by her untimely death in 1975. The award carries a $2,000 prize and is sponsored by the LCP.

2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award Shortlist:

  • Listen Before Transmit by Dani Couture (Wolsak & Wynn)
  • Ekke by Klara du Plessis (Palimpsest Press)
  • Body Work by Emilia Nielsen (Signature Editions)
  • East and West by Laura Ritland (Véhicule Press)
  • Reunion by Deanna Young (Brick Books)
  • The Missing Field by Jennifer Zilm (Guernica Editions)

The Winner of the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award is: Ekke by Klara du Plessis (Palimpsest Press)

Jury’s Comments: “An intelligent book constructed of long poems, Ekke reflects on the strange vagrancy of meaning and slippage of sounds between different languages. Both politically conscious and aesthetically beautiful, Ekke reads like a combination of the best parts of Lisa Robertson and M. Travis Lane: brainy and beautiful meditation with a beating lyric heart.”

2019 Jury: Robert Colman, Brenda Leifso, Shane Neilson

Raymond Souster Award
The Raymond Souster Award is given for a book of poetry by a League of Canadian Poets member. The award honours Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets. The award carries a $2,000 prize and is sponsored by the LCP.

2019 Raymond Souster Award Shortlist:

  • Anatomic by Adam Dickinson (Coach House Books)
  • I left nothing inside on purpose by Stevie Howell (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Welcome to the Anthropocene by Alice Major (University of Alberta Press)
  • Tar Swan by David Martin (NeWest Press)
  • Rooster, Dog, Crow by Jim Nason (Frontenac House)
  • Ledi by Kim Trainor (Book*hug)

The Winner of the 2019 Raymond Souster Award is: I left nothing inside on purpose by Stevie Howell (McClelland & Stewart)

Jury’s Comments: “Stevie Howell’s poems create a dazzling sense of contemporary experience, with all its wounds, as well as the bruising quality of the past: an AI bot named Tay learns to be racist and sexist from “Talking w/ humans;” Kintsugi pottery and fragments from Kierkegaard, D.H. Lawrence, and the vocabulary of self-help rattle through the deceptive transparency of Howell’s lines. The voice here insists on ironic distance and uncomfortable intimacy, poetic history and the banality of the present, “crowdfunded innocence” and “how pain never knows when to stop.” This collection is sophisticated, funny, and sad, often within the same line.”

2019 Jury: Kathy Mac, Maurice Mierau, Concetta Principe

The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Spoken Word
The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award, which carries a $2,000 prize, was founded in 2007 in partnership with the Calgary Spoken Word Society. Formerly a lifetime achievement award, past iterations have honoured a Canadian spoken word artist who made substantial contributions to the development of spoken word, through the originality of their writing/performance works and involvement in the expansion of the spoken word community. This year, jurors reviewed micro-portfolios submitted by spoken word poets all across Canada to award the 2019 winner for excellence and innovation in their selected poems.

The Winner of the 2019 Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Spoken Word is: Andrea Thompson

Jury’s Comments: “Andrea Thompson is a Canadian icon of Spoken word and her submissions reflect her long and praiseworthy career. The work is well-written and professionally produced with top notch recordings—as Andrea presents a strong-woman voice filled with spirit and fierce power, intelligence and musicality. Andrea Thompson explores and pushes boundaries—as artist practitioner, activist, educator and historian. The gifts she brings to Spoken Word on all levels is insurmountable, memorable and extremely valuable!”

2019 Jury: Sheri-D Wilson, Kevan Anthony Cameron, Dwayne Morgan

About the League of Canadian Poets
Established in 1966, the League of Canadian Poets is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, engaging, and promoting poets and poetry in Canada. For more information, visit Poets.ca.

About National Poetry Month
Established in April 1998 by the League of Canadian Poets, National Poetry Month brings together schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and poets from across the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture.Visit poets.ca/npm to see how the League is celebrating.

The Calgary Spoken Word Society is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to showcase local, national & international artists; to present culturally diverse works; to offer innovative and progressive approaches to literacy; and to give voice to under-represented communities. 

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For more information
Media Contact: Hazel Millar [email protected] | 416-994-1891