Souvankham Thammavongsa is the winner of this year’s Trillium Book Award for Poetry, for Light (Pedlar Press, 2013).
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
Souvankham Thammavongsa lays her words out in a variety of shapes and forms, though her signature style includes lyric compactness and austere line placements complemented by ample white space. The spaces are given as much thought and weight as the words themselves. Her style is a refreshing contrast to the dense, baroque imagery of current poetic styles. Other work can feel hyperbolic and verbose after reading Thammavongsa’s lean verse. The poems in Light are neither superficial nor undemanding, creating instead a space of quiet discomfort.
A heap of treasure perfectly describes Susan Downe’s intriguing tale, Juanita Wildrose: My True Life. Downe delves not only into her mother’s life, but into lives of an earlier generation caught up in the fraught years of the American Civil War. The photos, letters and family documents Downe uses were found safely stored in the “ancestor’s drawer” of Juanita Wildrose’s desk. This material, combined with skeins of history and snippets of poetry, run like a rich vein through Downe’s account of her mother’s unusual life.
Downe’s book is episodic, shifting, with aplomb, between life on a primitive, turn-of-the-century farm in Texas County, Missouri, where the family settled in l906, to a glance-back at the heartbreak and grim tutelage of the war between the states. It is a generational story told in the voice of Juanita, the second of six children of Mallie and George Malcolm Emack, who left Witchita, Kansas for the fresh air of a Missouri farm.
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