Friday, March 30, 2012

2011 BMO Winterset Award

Don McKay has been awarded the 2011 BMO Winterset Award for his book of essays The Shell of the Tortoise (M).

The BMO Winterset Award has been given annually to a Newfoundland and Labrador author (native born or resident to the province) to celebrate excellence in local writing. All forms of writing are considered - novels, poetry, drama, children's literature. The BMO Winterset Award is in memory of Newfoundland writer Sandra Fraser Gwyn, a prize-winning journalist.

In The Shell of the Tortoise "Don McKay is back from another geopoetic field season and has typed up his notes. The resulting essays continue his investigation into the relationship between poetry and wilderness, particularly into the characteristics of metaphor as a tool. "Art occurs whenever a tool attempts to metamorphose into an animal" asserts McKay in an essay on the myth of Hermes and his tortoise-shell lyre. He also takes us to the fossil beds of Newfoundland’s Mistaken Point to consider the fault line between scientific rigour and the poetic capacity for astonishment; over a buggy, boggy portage with Duncan Campbell Scott, surveying Canadian poetry's complex relationship with wilderness; to the imagined film set of From Here to Infinity to reflect on metaphor’s success in communicating the vastness of deep time, vastness which raw data fails to transmit; and into the Muskwa Assemblage, a poetic landscape which models his assertion that "In poetry, there is no 'been there, done that'; everything is wilderness."" publisher

Last year's winner was The Glass Harmonica (M) by Russell Wangersky.

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