Gathering the strongest poetry published by Newfoundlanders since the death of E. J. Pratt in 1964, The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry features selections from twelve of the province’s most impressive poets, including Al Pittman, Tom Dawe, Mary Dalton, John Steffler, Patrick Warner, and Ken Babstock. This groundbreaking anthology, with over forty years of poetry on display, celebrates the rousing and the rebirth of contemporary Newfoundland verse.
Ken Babstock won Canada's inaugural Latner Writer's Trust Poetry Prize in 2014 for a body of work in mid-career. His fourth collection, Methodist Hatchet (Anansi, 2011), won The Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry and was a finalist for The Trillium Book Award. His previous collections of poetry include, Mean (1999), winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Milton Acorn People's Poet Award, Days into Flatspin (2001), winner of a K.M. Hunter Awardand finalist for the Winterset Prize, and Airstream Land Yacht (2006), finalist for The Griffin Prize for Poetry, The Governor General's Literary Award, and The Winterset Prize, and winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. His poems have won Gold at the National Magazine Awards, been widely anthologized in Canada, the UK, the US, and Ireland, most recently in The Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature in English, and translated into Dutch, German, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, and French. All five previous titles were named Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year. Recent poems have appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and in Best of The Best Of Canadian Poetry. A book length poem, On Malice, written while in Berlin as one of DAAD's International Artist Residents in 2011/12, was published in fall 2014 by Coach House Books to wide critical acclaim. Ken Babstock was born in Newfoundland and now lives in Toronto with his son.
Michael Crummey was born in Buchans, Newfoundland. His debut novel, River Thieves (2001), was nominated for the Giller Prize and won the Winterset Award, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and the Atlantic Booksellers' Choice Award. He also won acclaim for Flesh and Blood (1998), a book of short fiction. His most recent collection of poetry is Salvage (2002). He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Mary Dalton has published four volumes of poetry, the most recent of which are Merrybegot (2003) and Red Ledger (2006). Her work has also been widely anthologized in Canada and abroad. Dalton has won numerous awards, including the EJ Pratt award and the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award, and has been shortlisted for the Winterset, Pat Lowther, and Atlantic Poetry awards. She lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Tom Dawe is renowned for his work in poetry, folklore, and children’s literature. The recipient of numerous awards, he has been the St. John’s Poet Laureate, and in 2012 he was named to the Order of Canada. Dawe lives in Conception Bay South, NL.
Richard Greeneteaches Creative Writing and British Literature at the University of Toronto. His most recent biography Edith Sitwell: Avant-garde Poet, English Genius (2011) was widely acclaimed, and he has published three collections of poetry, including Boxing the Compass (2010), which won the Governer General's Award for Poetry. He lives in Cobourg, Ontario.
Carmelita McGrath (1960) was born in Branch, St. Mary's Bay, NL, and now makes her home in St. John's. In 1998 she received the Atlantic Poetry Prize for To the New World. Her collection of short stories, Stranger Things Have Happened, won the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Bennington Gate Award.
Al Pittman, one of Newfoundland’s most celebrated authors, was born in St. Leonard’s, Placentia Bay, in 1940 and raised in Corner Brook. He was a co-founder of Breakwater Books, the creative force behind The March Hare festival, and the subject of radio, television, and film documentaries. His most popular books include the children’s favorite Down by Jim Long’s Stage, the play West Moon, and An Island in the Sky: Selected Poems. In 2001, the year of his death, Pittman was awarded a Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for his poetry collection Thirty-for-Sixty.
Born in Ontario, raised in Newfoundland, Sue Sinclair (1972) lived for eight years in New Brunswick, where she studied at Mount Allison University and the University of New Brunswick. Sinclair was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards (1999) and the Chapters/Robertson Davies Award (1999). She is working on two poetry manuscripts, Winter's Phantom Limbs and Invisible in Daylight.
John Steffler’s critically acclaimed poetry collections include The Grey Islands, That Night We Were Ravenous, and Lookout, which won the Atlantic Poetry Prize. His novel The Afterlife of George Cartwright was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. Steffler served as Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2006 to 2008. He divides his time between Montreal and rural Ontario.
Born and brought up in Placentia, Newfoundland, Walsh studied folklore in Georgia (USA), before returning home and taking to writing plays, poetry and fiction founded in her love of her ancestral place. She divides her time between St. John's and Patrick's Cove around the Cape Shore from Placentia. In 2006 she was named the inaugural St. John's Poet Laureate.
James Langer is the author of the award-winning poetry collection Gun Dogs (Anansi, 2009). He’s edited poetry for The Fiddlehead, Riddle Fence, Goose Lane Editions, and now works as the in-house managing editor of Breakwater Books.
Mark Callanan is the author of Scarecrow (Killick, 2003) and Gift Horse (Signal Editions, 2011) which was shortlisted for the BMO Winterset Award. He previously edited and helped establish the journal Riddle Fence, and he currently edits for Canadian Notes and Queries.
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