Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bywords John Newlove Award Reading- Winner & Honourable Mentions

I didn’t take notes tonight as I had to concentrate on hosting the event, but I just wanted to write a short note to say the event was really inspiring and wonderful. Andrea Simms Karp didn’t play her banjo, but her singing and guitar playing made everyone happy and started the reading off with a calm tone, which helped the readers, who were a bit nervous as is to be expected. Apparently we had about 60 audience members at our peak, which is fantastic on a night when there’s a hockey game on and the weather is fit only for Heathcliff and the Bronte Sisters.

Last year’s Newlove recipient, Melissa Upfold, came up from Sarnia to read from her chapbook, Welcome to Beautiful San Ria (Bywords, 2006). She also read four John Newlove poems, including her favourite, Driving, from the Night the Dog Smiled (ECW Press, 1986)

And now, since many of you who weren’t at the event might be interested in knowing the results…52 poems published on from September 2005 to August 2006 were eligible for the award. The judge this year was Erin Moure, who chose four honourable mentions and one winning poem:

Honourable mentions were

One More Vanished by Kathryn Hunt, (July 2006)
Meredith Quartermain’s “I Canadian dream of English,” variation three, rob mclennan, (January, 2006)
look into, Heather McLeod (August, 2006)
Burnt forest, Rona Shaffran (August, 2006)

The winning poem was at the pizzeria 100% real juice written by Roland Prevost (May, 2006)

I was pleased that the readers all read with enthusiasm and held the audience’s attention. One of my favourite parts was when rob noted that it was great to not win a contest he didn’t even enter. Was also good to hear lots of Newlove poems. The reading and award is meant to honour and celebrate the poetry of John Newlove, to help, in a small way, to ensure that writers continue to have access to his words as their inspiration.

Roland won a signed copy of The Cave (McLelland and Stewart, 1970), and the opportunity to have a chapbook published by Bywords to be read at next year’s fall edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, if they let us come back!

The reading was truly a celebration, honouring Newlove’s work, the Writers Festival tenth anniversary and also the ninth anniversary of Dusty Owls Cathy and Steve Zytveld, not to mention celebrating the achievements and talents of the poets in Ottawa’s literary community.I wanted to stay for Writing Life 2, especially to hear Stephen Heighton, but I didn’t have the attention span, after all the organizing and planning for the Bywords reading finally ended without any of the bad stuff I dreamt about happening (all the writers and the performer showed, the Festival organizers didn’t forget we were holding an event, there wasn’t a fire or flood and no large apes left over from Stuart Ross’s performance of Ape Play the previous night got loose from their green garbage bag captivity.

All in all a great evening. Now to finish planning the October 15 launch of the fall Bywords Quarterly Journal and to start on next year’s Newlove award planning! The fun never stops…at Bywords. It was great seeing so many familiar and new faces at the reading.

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