P.K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry

2010 Winner

The University of Victoria, on behalf of The Malahat Review, is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry: Eve Joseph of Saanich, British Columbia, for her poem, “White Camellias,” which appeared in the Fall 2009 issue (168) of The Malahat Review. Eve Joseph’s award-winning poem was chosen by Barry Dempster.

The P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry recognizes the excellence of The Malahat Review’s contributors by awarding a prize of $1000 to the author of the best poem or sequence of poems to have appeared in the magazine’s quarterly issues during the previous calendar year. The winner, to be chosen by an outside judge who is recognized for his or her accomplishment as a poet, is announced just prior to the publication of The Malahat Review’s Spring issue.

Of Eve Joseph’s poem, Dempster says, “Eve Joseph’s ‘White Camellias’ goes way beyond its hook of directly addressing the poems she doesn’t write. The poem in front of us breaks the silences with a wide-ranging imagination and an awareness that telling the truth is the first step in being heard. There’s a lovely lyric sweep to the poem, containing both tenderness and vigour. I was haunted by the gentling towards innerness and by the way the poem slowly opens up to the world at large. ‘White Camellias’ is a geography of the moment before the moment passes. The reader hears these lost poems as a kind of mutual discovery, poet and reader truly sharing the same page.”

photo of Eve Joseph

Eve Joseph was born in 1953 and grew up in North Vancouver. Her first book of poetry The Startled Heart was published by Oolichan Press in 2004 and nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. Her second book will be released with Brick in the spring of 2010.

Barry Dempster is the author of fifteen books. He has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award twice and has won the Canadian Authors’ Association Chalmers Award for Poetry for his 2005 collection, The Burning Alphabet. In 2009, he published two new books of poetry: Love Outlandish and Ivan’s Birches. A new collection, Blue Wherever, will be published by Signature Editions this spring.

The P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry honours the celebrated Victoria poet’s contribution to Canadian letters. It is made possible by a financial donation to The Malahat Review by P. K. Page in recognition of her long association with the magazine and as a gesture of her deep appreciation of her peers in the local and national literary communities.

P. K. Page (1916-2010) was born in England and came to Canada in 1919. Educated in England, Calgary, and Winnipeg, she studied art in Brazil and New York. She first came to the attention of the readers of Canadian poetry in the 1940s through her association with and regular appearances in Preview, a Montreal-based literary magazine key to the establishment of modernism in Canada. Her first important publication, Unit of Five, an anthology published by Ryerson in 1944, was followed by an impressive series of books of poetry, fiction, and memoir that display a characteristic love of ideas and a distinctive use of language that have won her admirers around the world. Her contribution was recognized early, when The Metal and the Flower (McClelland and Stewart) won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry for 1954. Her recent books of poetry include Hologram (1994), The Hidden Room: Collected Poems (1998), Hand Luggage (2006), The Filled Pen: Selected Non-fiction of P. K. Page (2006), and Up on the Roof (short fiction, 2007). Under the name P. K. Irwin, her paintings and drawings have been exhibited widely and are held in public and private collections across Canada.

For more information about the P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry and how you may support it through a donation, please email The Malahat Review.

Previous P.K. Page Founders Award for Poetry Winners