So last night was the Manitoba Book Awards gala...and I was all frocked up.
It was such an honour to be nominated for two prizes, especially when there were so many books eligible this year, that I hadn't thought through the idea that I might win one/both/neither of them.
So when I sat myself down in the auditorium for my ritualized read-thru of the programme, I was mostly looking forward to the learning the judges' identities and reading their comments on each of the short-listed books.
Here's what the judges for the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry / Le Prix Lansdowne du poesie - Michael Harris, Kenneth Meadwell, and Serge Patrice Thibodeau - had to say about Hump:
"Hump is Ariel Gordon's first book, coming on the heels of a variety of magazine publications and two chapbooks. The focus of Hump is the rich experience of motherhood and marriage on the one hand, and of city life in the integrated context of the natural world, which is everywhere engaging, fierce, beautiful, and unstoppable. This is capable, exuberant writing, at once passionate and meticulous. Hump is a worthy first book indeed."
I read the comments about Hump, I thrilled a little...and then I realized that the Lansdowne was the first prize to be awarded.
And so it was only a few minutes later that I heard my name, spoken by bookstore owner Kelly Hughes. (!)(!!!)
A day later, I'm still full to the brim with gratitude. For the support this community has given me in the year since Hump came out. For all the times M came home from work and said, "Have a good reading/workshop/signing," as I walked out the door...
I was also up for the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book, three awards later. And Sheila McClarty was so so gracious as she accepted the award...in addition to being deserving.
But I walked away from that adjudication with something of definite value: the judges' comments, specifically from Sharon Butala, Claire Holden Rothman, and Andris Taskans.
"Hump is a sensual song celebrating the love that fuels all of life. In this strong debut collection, Winnipeg writer Ariel Gordon vividly evokes springtime in the forests and wetlands of Manitoba. Frogs "hump spring's wet backside in the ultimate catch-and-release slip-slide," and "moss gross so silently / it can be heard." Gordon also explores her own pregnancy and motherhood, revealing the wonder and devilment of bringing new life into the world."
Thanks all! (But especially Dawn and Sarah at Palimpsest and my beloved M!)