2019 Book Awards: Winners Announcement

The League of Canadian Poets is proud to present the 2019 Book Awards Winners, including the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and the Raymond Souster Award.

The winners – who will each receive $2000 thanks to funding from Canada Council for the Arts , Ontario Arts CouncilToronto Arts Council, and Canada Book Fund – will be announced on Saturday, June 8, 2019, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at a special awards ceremony to be held during the League of Canadian Poets’ Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting. At this time, the winner of the 2019 Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Spoken Word will also be announced.


Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for a debut book of poetry

Awarded annually since 1981, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized author tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes a first book of poetry published by a Canadian writer in the preceding year. The award carries a $2000 prize and is sponsored by the LCP.

2019 Winner: Obits. by Tess Liem (Coach House Books)

Tess Liem lives in Tio’tia:ke/Mooniyaang—unceded Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe territories
(Montreal QC). Her writing appears in The Puritan, Plenitude, Cosmonauts Avenue, THIS and elsewhere.
Her debut collection of poetry, Obits. (Coach House 2018), was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary award

From the Jurors: 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

Pat Lowther Memorial Award

The Pat Lowther Memorial Award is given for a book of poetry by a woman in Canada, 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. This award is inclusive of trans women and non-binary individuals who feel comfortable being recognized by a women’s prize.

2019 Winner: Ekke by Klara du Plessis (Palimpsest Press)

Klara du Plessis is a poet residing in Montreal. Her debut collection, Ekke, was released from Palimpsest
Press in 2018; and her chapbook, Wax Lyrical—shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award—was
published by Anstruther Press in 2015. Klara is the editor for carte blanche magazine, a PhD English
Literature student at Concordia University, and currently expanding her curatorial practice to include
experimental Deep Curation poetry reading events. Follow her @ToMakePoesis

From the Jurors: 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.

Raymond Souster Award for a book of poetry by a League member

The Raymond Souster Award was started in 2013 to honour Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets. The award is presented annually for a book of poetry by a League member published in the preceding year. The award carries a $2000 prize, and is sponsored by the LCP.

2019 Winner: I left nothing inside on purpose by Stevie Howell (McClelland & Stewart)

Stevie Howell is a psychometrist & writer who lives in Victoria, BC. Stevie’s second collection of poetry, I
left nothing inside on purpose, was released last spring by Penguin Random House Canada. Stevie is
currently writing a thriller, & forever working on her afterlife

From the Jurors: 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.

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