Saturday, October 13, 2007

Congratulations Monty Reid

winner of the 2007 Lampman-Scott Award for poetry for Disappointment Island (Chaudiere Books); Congratulations also to Chaudiere Books for publishing a book that won an award in the first year of its existence, first season even!

Honourable mention went to Sylvia Adams for her poetry collection "Sleeping on the Moon" (HAGIOS Press). Congratulations Sylvia!

The judges for the award, which has existed since 1986 before it was merged this year with the Duncan Campbell Foundation, were Steven Reinkie of BC, Tonjia Gunvaldsen Klassen of Halifax, Nova Scotia and Sue St.Claire of Toronto, Ontario.

The judges had this to say about Disappointment Island:

"Monty Reid has a gift for arresting metaphoric insights whch he often delivers in a disarmingly casual voice, the effect being that of an everyday world primed for the unexpected. Most poems are tinged with an appealing lyric sadness. They are drawn to the erotic murmur of material things that simulteanously conceive the ineluctable mystery of the various landscapes into which they travel."

As Monty said "Where else but Ottawa would you get a major poetry award that's named after two civil servants. Lampman worked as a post office clerk and Scott worked in Native Affairs." In his acceptance speech, he thanked the Ottawa literary community for the warmth and the welcome he received from other writers in Ottawa. He came to Ottawa from out west a few years ago. We're lucky to have him.

Monty read from a section of the title series "Disappointment Island"

for Megan Ward

We have taken lawnchairs, blankets,
a thermos of hot chocolate and the attenuated
matter of our hearts down to the waterfront
where the sky looks darkest. They have forecast
a meteorite shower and although the glow of the
distant city composes itself beyond the chain
of islands this is the darkest we can find.
Still, the twang of light surprises us.

You could not catch it. It is the jump
of static between two bodies that are predicted
by theory but we would otherwise have no
evidence for. And isn't the decomposing
light of evidence exactly what we wanted?
To believe that out of all the bitter words some
proof could arise that would bind us together
like the webbing of these tired lawnchairs.
Sometimes our necks get kinked from waiting
in the dark.

And so we watch the ferry passing slowly
through the channel and freighters anchored
in the moonlight of the sound. They are slow
enough to see. And even though it's
invisible, we pour the hot chocolate and it
grants something to the darkness. When
we tilt our sweetened heads towards the sky again
it says we would not want to do this forever.
Perhaps nothing more is required.

There is no point in wishing
for anything. The stars, in falling,
make their wishes upon you.

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