Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Thursday, April 28th, 2016

APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

Sponsored by Friesens Corporation



Winter in Tilting:  Slide Hauling in a Newfoundland Outport

by Robert Mellin



Presented annually during the Atlantic Book Awards to an Atlantic Canada publisher

of the printed book which best exemplifies publishing activity in Atlantic Canada.




And the best news is: all these winning and nominated titles—Duke (Sara Tilley), Winter in Tilting (Robert Mellin), The Poison Colour (Maureen Hynes), Tell: poems for a girlhood (Soraya Peerbaye), Strangers & Others (Stan Dragland), Light (Souvankham Thammavongsa), The Outside World (Barry Dempster), Subduction Zone (Emily McGiffin), How You Were Born (Kate Cayley) — and all the other brilliant works by Pedlar authors CAN BE PURCHASED, CAN BE READ — without 15% tax, at libraries to which you can walk from your house — for at least the next few weeks.


SUPPORT INDIES. Stay calm and buy a book.

2016 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

The Griffin Poetry Prize Announces the 2016 International and Canadian Shortlist




Meet The Shortlist: Maureen Hynes

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Welcome to the first installation of [the League of Canadian Poets’] 2016 “Meet the Shortlist” blog series! Throughout National Poetry Month, we’re excited to introduce you to all the poets shortlisted for our book awards: the women shortlisted for our Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the new poets shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and the League members shortlisted for our Raymond Souster Award. The winners of these awards will be announced on Saturday, June 18 at a special awards luncheon at the Canadian Writers’ Summit. Visit for more details! Find a complete shortlist for all of our awards here.


Our first two poets have actually both been shortlisted for TWO of our book awards, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Raymond Souster Award.  We were excited to find out more about their writing process and their great shortlisted books, The Wrong Cat and The Poison Colour.


Lorna Crozier is the award-winning author of fifteen previous books of poetry, including Small Mechanics, The Blue Hour of the Day: Selected Poems, andWhetstone. She is also the author of The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things and the memoir Small Beneath the Sky. She is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria and an Officer of the Order of Canada, and she has received three honorary doctorates for her contributions to Canadian Literature. Born in Swift Current, she now lives in British Columbia.

The Wrong Cat Lorna CrozierWhat was your favourite part of writing this book? What I love about writing poetry is the fierce attention it requires. To create a poem, let alone a book of poems, you have to start being aware of the smallest things around you: the way the light falls on the windowsill, the fine hairs sprouting in the cat’s ears, the shape of the fingers on the left hand. Poetry opens the writer’s eyes and makes her see both what’s there and what’s hidden. It’s a privilege being in the world that way. What happens when I drop into this kind of intense seeing and saying means more to me than the finished poem itself. Some of them take years to complete, anyway.

What was the hardest part? When you’ve been writing as long as I have it’s essential not to simply produce the same poem over and over again. The hardest part is to articulate the obsessions in a new way and to surprise myself. What creates roadblocks is a loss of faith in myself, the feeling that no one is listening or that I’ve said enough and it’s time to stop.

Where did you spend most of your time writing? I work in a bedroom converted to an office in my house. When we moved here, I had a sliding glass door cut into one wall. It overlooks the pond in our garden. It’s the best view I’ve ever had in a working space. From my desk I can see the goldfish, the turtles, the warblers and sparrows in the small maples, the wind turning over the leaves, the water irises, the sunrise. Those are inspirations.

Lorna Crozier poemWhat were three major Canadian influences on this book? Literary or otherwise. One of the Canadian influences on my poetry is the weather. It often warms or freezes its way into my poems. Another is the work of fine writers, like my husband’s new book, Washita. I love the long, end-stopped lines, the tone, and the calm, unpretentious wisdom. I also admire how he reinvents himself with each new book. That’s an inspiration for me. Finally, close by are the books of Anne Marie Turza and Stephen Price. The latter’s Omens in the Year of the Ox is leading me into curses.

Who is one up-and-coming writer you think everyone should start reading right away? Anne Marie’s The Quiet makes me value the idiosyncratic and the power of the lyric paragraph. She is the one young writer everyone should be following. There’s no one like her. If her first book is this good, I can’t wait for her second.

How do you feel being a member of the League has contributed to your professional journey as a poet and writer? The League reminds me, to use Margaret Lawrence’s words, that I’m part of “a tribe.” Writing poetry is lonely, unpaid work. It helps to know there are others as crazy as you involved in the same craft.


Maureen Hynes author photoMAUREEN HYNES, The Poison Colour

Maureen Hynes’s first book of poetry, Rough Skin, won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry by a Canadian. Subsequent collections are Harm’s Way from Brick Books, Marrow, Willow and her most recent, The Poison Colour, both from Pedlar Press. She is a winner of the Petra Kenney Poetry Prize (London, England), and her poems have been included in Best Canadian Poems in English (2010), and twice longlisted for the CBC Canada Reads poetry contest. Maureen is poetry editor for Our Times magazine.

What was your favourite part of writing this book? It’s always a challenge to compile a collection that is not uni-thematic, that is, all about one main subject. And in the case of The Poison Colour, I was pulling together poems across a range of styles. I enjoyed sorting and re-sorting my folder of poems into several types of categories to create sections. Since I wanted the poem called “Elemental” to be at or near the front of the book, I tried ordering the poems by the elements — earth, air, fire, water, and the Chinese also include a fifth, metal. Of course this was an arbitrary process, whereby I had to “weigh” each poem to determine its predominant element. In the end, I used a less defined and more intuitive way of ordering the poems, but it’s interesting to see that each section retains a core of its original “element.”

Maureen HynesWhat was the hardest part? I think most poets find the very final editing stages a bit gruelling – the work that was once exciting starts to feel stale after so many workings-over. In those moments, I find it challenging to remain true to my own poetic intentions for each poem, and curious about and open to suggestions. Veering between certainty and uncertainty about individual poems: the editing process sharpens that, but also ultimately clarifies.

Where did you spend most of your time writing? Because I almost always start poems longhand in a notebook, I write anywhere – cafés, restaurants, public transit, other people’s living rooms, and in the big red armchair in my study. What helps me in getting started is reading poems – I find it moves me onto the “meditative ground” that writing a poem requires, as Don MacKay once said in a workshop. Roadblocks? Overbooking myself, taking on too much, not leaving enough room for the writing I want to do, or discovering what I want to write.

What were three major Canadian influences on this book? Literary or otherwise. Oh, dear! In fact there are many non-Canadian poets who make appearances in The Poison Colour – Louise Glück, Federico Garcia Lorca, Seamus Heaney, Joanne Kyger, Emily Dickinson, Philip Whalen, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson, James Schuyler. Some of these I discovered through my own study, but many are from Hoa Nguyen’s classes in Toronto, which have led me to take a more experimental path.

The Poison Colour Maureen HynesA great number of the poems that found their way into this book are products of poetry retreats – Barry Dempster’s in Chile; Gerry Shikatani’s “Lorca’s Granada” in Granada, Spain. Both of these poets have had a huge and sustaining influence on my poetics, and my practice.

Who is one up-and-coming writer you think everyone should start reading right away?
Can I give you two? The multi-talented Vivek Shraya, whose new book, Even this page is white, is coming out this spring from Arsenal, and Kim Trainor, whose poetics in Karyotype (Brick, 2015) inspired and moved me enormously.

How do you feel being a member of the League has contributed to your professional journey as a poet and writer? Oh, in so many ways – obviously, the funding for readings and sustaining reading series across the country, and the services the League’s wonderful staff provide. Of course the League’s award nominations and awards are of huge importance to individual poets and publishers. And finally, I find that poets are very regionally identified – Ontario poets don’t know the BC or Nova Scotia poetry scenes, so the League is invaluable in bringing us together and strengthening our sense of a national poetic community.


Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, Sponsored by Friesens Corporation

Breakwater Books for
Racket:  New Writing Made in Newfoundland
By:  Lisa Moore, Editor

Nimbus Publishing for
A Seaglass Journey:  Ebb and Flow
By:  Teri Hall

Pedlar Press for
Winter in Tilting:  Slide Hauling in a Newfoundland Outport
By Robert Mellin

The awards will be presented at a gala at Moncton’s historic Capitol Theatre on April 27. This is the first time the ceremony will be held in New Brunswick and is the first time it will be a bilingual event. In addition, the gala will feature the presentation of the first-ever New Brunswick Book Awards. The gala is the centrepiece of the Society’s weeklong festival, which will feature events in all four Atlantic provinces from April 20 to 27 in celebration of the Atlantic region’s best books and authors.

The gala is held in conjunction with the Frye Festival, Canada’s only bilingual literary festival and Atlantic Canada’s largest literary happening, which takes place in Moncton from April 23 to May 1.

Sara Tilley wins the 2015 BMO Winterset Award

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

March 24, 2016 (St. John’s, NL) – Sara Tilley is the winner of the 2015 BMO Winterset Award for her book Duke. The award, which celebrates excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing, was presented today at a ceremony at Government House in St. John’s.

The two other finalists were Stan Dragland for Strangers & Others (Pedlar Press, St. John’s, NL) and Leslie Vryenhoek for Ledger of the Open Hand (Breakwater Books, St. John’s).

The BMO Winterset Award is composed of a partnership between the BMO Financial Group and those involved from the start – ArtsNL and the project’s founder, writer Richard Gwyn, OC. The prize awarded to the annual winner is $12,500, while the finalists each receive $3,000. It is one of Atlantic Canada’s richest literary prizes.

Duke (Pedlar Press, St. John’s, NL) was one of 31 works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors (either native-born or resident) that were submitted by publishers from across the country. Books in any genre, published in 2015 were eligible. The jury consisted of Chris Brookes, Megan Gail Coles, and Randy Street.

The BMO Winterset Award honours the memory of Sandra Fraser Gwyn, St. John’s-born social historian, prize-winning author, who did so much to promote a national awareness of the arts of this province. Her husband, journalist and author Richard Gwyn, OC, established the award in 2000. It is named after the historic house on Winter Avenue in St. John’s where Sandra grew up.

Sara Tilley is a writer, theatre artist, and clown who lives and works in her hometown of St. John’s, NL. Her artistic work bridges writing, theatre, and Pochinko Clown Through Mask technique, with each discipline informing and inspiring the others. After graduating with a BFA in Acting from York University, Sara founded a feminist theatre company, She Said Yes!, in 2002. She received the Rhonda Payne Theatre Award in 2006 from ArtsNL, which acknowledges the contribution of a woman working in theatre in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her writing spans the genres of playwriting, prose, and poetry. She has written, co-written or co-created over ten plays. Skin Room (Pedlar Press, 2008), her first novel won both the Newfoundland and Labrador Percy Janes First Novel Award, the inaugural Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers, and was shortlisted for the Winterset Award and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. Sara won the Lawrence Jackson Writer’s Award from ArtsNL in 2011. Her new novel, Duke (Pedlar Press, 2015), found its inspiration through her Pochinko Clown Mask work.

The BMO Winterset Award is managed by ArtsNL.