The Final Countdown - Vallum Award for Poetry 2014
Last chance to submit to the Vallum Award for Poetry 2014! We are still accepting original and previously unpublished submissions for our annual poetry contest. First Prize: $750, Second Prize: $250, + publication in Vallum: Contemporary Poetry. Deadline: July 15, 2014. Contest Judge: George Elliott Clarke. Some of the best poets in the world have graced the pages of Vallum. Get your word on! Entry Fee: $25 (includes a 1 year subscription to Vallum. Entries accepted by Paypal and by posted mail. For more information visit: www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html

The League of Canadian Poets Congratulates the Winners of the Pat Lowther, Gerald Lampert, Raymond Souster
and Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Awards
The winners of the 2014 Pat Lowther and Gerald Lampert Memorial Awards, the new Raymond Souster Award and the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award were announced on Saturday, June 7, at the 48th annual League of Canadian Poets Poetry Festival and Conference held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in downtown Toronto.   Anne Compton is the winner of the Raymond Souster Award for the book Alongside (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), Murray Reiss won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for The Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild (Hagios Press) and Alexandra Oliver won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway (Biblioasis).    The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award winner is poet and artist bill bissett.  Bissett washonoured for his  influence and impact on spoken word in Canada.  The awards dinner gala, which was hosted by LCP President Dymphny Dronyk, was attended by LCP members from across the country.  Awards were handed out by Sheila Martindale and Laurence Hutchman. Several shortlisted poets from each category were in attendance and gave short readings from their nominated books throughout the event.

Highlights of the evening included:

-bill bissett received the Sheri D. Wilson Golden Beret Award for his influence and impact on spoken word in Canada. This $1000.00 annual award was created by Sheri-D Wilson—a pioneer of spoken word poetry in Canada—to honour a Canadian spoken word artist who has made a substantial contribution to the development of spoken word, through the originality and excellence of his or her own writing/performance works, and through involvement in—and contributions to—the expansion of the spoken word community.

-Anne Compton won the Raymond Souster Award for her book Alongside (Fitzhenry and Whiteside). The prize honours the late Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets and it carries a $1,000 prize.

-Murray Reiss won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for his book The Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild (Hagios Press)

-Alexandra Oliver won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for her book Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway (Biblioasis)

-The Honouraray Life Membership Award went to Kitty Lewis, General Manager of Brick Books

-The Life Membership Award was given to Sheri-D Wilson.

-The Colleen Thibaudeau Outstanding Contribution Award was awarded to Allen Briesmaster.The award was presented by Colleen Thibaudeau’s granddaughter.

-shortlist readings were given by several poets in attendance at the gala including Anne Compton, Catherine Graham, Vancy Kasper, John Terpstra, Murray Reiss, Alexandra Oliver, Micheline Maylor, Sadiqa de Meijer, Laurie D. Graham and Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang. bill bissett and Honey Novick also gave a short spoken word performance together.

The 2014 complete shortlists for the Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther Memorial Awards and Raymond Souster Award are available to download.

Judges Citations:

Gerald Lampert Memorial:
Winner: The Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild by Murray Reiss (Hagios Press)

A powerful, moving book with poems that are poignant, accurate, written in deep ancestral memory, and in figurative language that is sometimes delicate and always accomplished. By focusing on the story of his relationship with his father, Reiss suggests how personal experience is inextricably connected to various contexts that form and transform our lives. A reader’s emotional engagement and the poet’s craft is sustained throughout, and no matter how passionate, the poems never collapse into mere emotion. This book feels important and heartfelt. Watch your wallet because this book has the articulacy of a confidence man.

Raymond Souster Award:|
Winner: Alongside by Anne Compton (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

Every so often, one comes across a poet and sees what makes poetry, poetry.  With a sudden flash of recognition, the reader stands before the cosmic stage and confronts all that is there. Anne Compton in Alongside writes masterfully about the exhilarating freedom of childhood memories, love expressed in a personal cartography and in the imaginative revelation of the history of a house and its former inhabitants.  She writes with subtle music, startling analogies, extraordinary metaphors, les mots justes — blended in an orchestral arrangement with keen intelligence, powerful emotion and exquisite craft — all waiting for the reader to discover.

Pat Lowther Memorial:
Winner: Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway by Alexandra Oliver (Biblioasis)

Alexandra Oliver’s Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway is fresh and original. Stylistically formal, Oliver creates sharply realized scenes set within aural experiences honed by years as a performance poet. In “Over a Faberge Owl,” line and metre are “live branches” of iambic rhythm, rhyme and theatrics. But the wild untamed energies that underscore civilization also underscore these branches studded with “claws calmly gripping” them. Similarly dark underlining of civilized scenes—delivered with the lightest touch—is what is most outstanding in this exceptional book.

Media Contact: Hazel Millar, Publicity and Media Manager, League of Canadian Poets, hazel@bookthug.ca or 416-994-1891