Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lansdowne Prize for Poetry

It was the last thing I expected, but I'm pretty happy that Stowaways won the 2015 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry last night at the Manitoba Book Awards.

Here are the judges' comments:

"Stowaways is well imagined and well crafted, each poem tight, the poet’s attention evident. From wildlife to the clutter of the everyday to “how-to” offerings, the reader is charmed and enticed by the poet’s light touch and sure pen.

Images jump out at us, grab us by the throat, leave us gasping. Ariel Gordon’s second collection is as strong as the parts of its sum.”

—Margaret Michele Cook, Katia Grubisic, and Paul Savoie, judges of the 2015 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry / Prix Lansdowne de Poesie.

Laurent Poliquin ("A deep and far-reaching exploration of the possiblity of words and language"), Alison Calder ("There is so much of breathtaking beauty in Alison's Calders In the Tiger Park"), and Luann Hiebert ("A true ephiphany of sound, structure, meaning, allusion, intent") were also nominated.

I expected Alison to win, because, as the judges put it, she's a "a thoughtful imp that sneaks into our night mind, a tender and wry traveller inviting her readers along." And, also, because I admire her work so very much...

As such, I didn't have any comments prepared, so I mostly mocked/thanked M, who had commented just before my award was announced—having watched Rick Chafe's gracious wife accept the inaugural Chris Johnson Award for Best Play by a Manitoba Playwright—that spouses should always get to accept awards.

(M was there in two capacities: loyal/long-suffering spouse but also as someone who'd worked on the Winnipeg Free Press' City Beautiful book, which was nominated in the design category...)

I also acknowledged Alison as her role as member of my writing group, along with Kerry Ryan and Jennifer Still.

And then I made the crowd chant "Poetry is Forever" which was sort of fun, but completely forgot to thank my publisher Palimpsest Press or editor Jim Johnstone or the MWG or even my colleagues at UMP. Sigh...

But I had a new dress for the occasion from Foxy Shoppe and had had my hair done at Edward Carrier, so between the wedge heels I was wearing and the pompadour I was sporting, I was at least six and a half feet tall...

The ballroom at the Marlborough Hotel was spacious but also suffocatingly hot, so people rushed out when all was said and done, but a group of us went to the Round Table and had buckets of bacon. Which was a nice end to the evening...


(My thanks to Anthony Mark Schellenberg for the acceptance speech photo, from the moment when I got the crowd to chant "Poetry is Forever," mostly because I could. And because I believe it...)

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