18 June 2014
Souvankham Thammavongsa is the winner of this year’s Trillium Book Award for Poetry, for Light (Pedlar Press, 2013).
Jury Comment: Souvankham Thammavongsa’s Light is as economical an account of the entire world as one could hope to find. The poet’s powerful zoom lens transforms a light bulb box to a Buddhist temple, a plot of parsley to a cheerleading squad, a colossal squid to supper, the sky to an ashtray, and dung to light. If “profound pun” is an oxymoron to you, then Thammavongsa will show you the error of that thinking. At once serious and hilarious, singular and deeply relatable, this collection is a landmark in contemporary poetry.
FINALISTS FOR 2014 TRILLIUM BOOK AWARD
TORONTO – Six English books and five French were shortlisted for the 2014 Trillium
Book Award, the Ontario government’s prestigious award for literature. This year, five titles were
also short-listed for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; three in English and two in French.
English Finalists for the Trillium Book Award/Prix Trillium:
· Craig Davidson, Cataract City (Doubleday Canada)
· ****Barry Dempster, The Outside World (Pedlar Press)****
· Lorna Goodison, Supplying Salt and Light (McClelland & Stewart)
· Helen Humphreys, Nocturne (HarperCollins Publishers)
· Hannah Moscovitch, This is War (Playwrights Canada Press)
· Peter Unwin, Life Without Death and Other Stories (Cormorant Books)
Finalists for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry in English language:
· Austin Clarke, Where the Sun Shines Best (Guernica Editions)
· Adam Dickinson, The Polymers (House of Anansi Press)
· ***Souvankham Thammavongsa, Light (Pedlar Press)*** ❥❥❥
“Ontario is fortunate to have a tremendous network of local publishers and so many gifted writers, whose work is in demand around the world. Congratulations to this year’s finalists – their new stories carry on a rich literary tradition and we wish them continued success.” – Kevin Shea, Chair, Ontario Media Development Corporation
The moody, atmospheric stories are delectable, if richly dark and shadowy (as in 1940s Hollywood: think Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice). They’d nestle comfortably on a shelf of literary depictions of the West and hardscrabble rural existence laden with American heavyweights like Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (not to mention works by Guy Vanderhaeghe, early Alice Munro, and Sinclair Ross). —Brett Josef Grubisic, The Winnipeg Review
Reading in Charlottetown, PEI
Saturday July 26 at 2PM
Confederation Centre Public Library
The word nostalgia comes from two Greek roots—nostos, meaning the return home, and algos, meaning pain or longing. The Western Home tells the story of the folk song “Home on the Range” through characters seeking to integrate their experiences of upheaval and alienation into meaning and identity—to transform their longing into belonging, their pain into understanding—by retreat to the safety of an ideal. “Home on the Range” is the protagonist of The Western Home, and the supporting characters are the people who helped shape the song’s destiny by writing, rewriting, singing, recording, claiming and disowning it. Each story in the collection takes place in a different decade following the year of the song’s composition as a poem, in 1872. Beginning with the lonely, alcoholic pioneer, Brewster Higley, who wrote the poem, and concluding with a disaffected teenager who works in a rural Kansas tourist kiosk near the original site of the poem’s composition, this collection explores themes of collective memory, collective forgetting and the loss that is implied in both. Whether they are seeking out ideal landscapes, or pursuing invincible beliefs, or trying to make meaning out of chaos, the characters in these stories are all trying find a way home.
Catherine Cooper’s The Western Home is a tour de force that evokes, re-invents and brings vividly to life the many stories of the song that came to be known as “Home on the Range.” Each story is an utterly engrossing revelation of character and of era, as well as of the American West. Cooper has performed a bit of magic here, choosing a simple song as point of entry into her fictional world and conjuring wonders from it. —Terence Byrnes
Purchase from your Local Independent Bookseller or from Amazon.