On behalf of Bywords, I offer condolences to the family and friends of Saskatchewan poet, Gary Hyland who died on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
After John Newlove passed away in 2003, Gary wrote about John's poetry and appearance at the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild. When we decided to do an online memorial to John, Gary kindly agreed to have his piece published on the site.
Shortly after that it became clear that we needed to not only publish a tribute to John Newlove in the form of a wee anthology of his poems and poems by those who admired his work (Moments Not Monuments), but also to create an award in John Newlove's honour to remember him. The first person who came to mind as the judge was Gary Hyland. And even though he was in his words "the busiest guy in this community of 35,000, [Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan]" he agreed to take on the job and even sent me a few poems on judging and on John Newlove. He chose Norma Elliott's poem "To the Moose on Highway 417" because of its "powerful central image, excellent use of juxtapostion, and its telling diction, especially the muscular verbs and the pun."
Gary's role in our John Newlove tributes is a reminder of how close this Canadian poetry community of ours is. John Newlove, a Prairie poet, spent the last 20 years of his life in Ottawa. Gary Hyland, another Prairie poet, shared his memories of John with Ottawans and helped us continue to commemorate John Newlove as the years go by. Now let us continue to remember Gary Hyland, by all accounts a lovely man and a wonderful poet.
This month's issue features two poets: Michael Scott and Sean Moreland. Coincidentally, Sean won the Newlove Award in 2007 when the judge was George Elliott Clarke and later became part of the Bywords selection committee for a short while. Yes, at times the poetry community is a small world with few degrees of separation and isn't that a good thing.
Also in this month's issue is a review of Ronnie R. Brown's latest poetry collection, "Rocking on the Edge" (Black Moss Press, 2010) by Mary Lee Brag. This book was published as part of Black Moss Press's 64/10 series, 64 pages and $10, designed with the intention of making poetry affordable and accessible. I have been a fan of Ronnie's work since I read her first collection Re Creation. Ronnie has a way of getting to the heart of the matter with both humour and compassion and often a dark edge. She's reading on May 8, 2011 at the Dusty Owl Reading Series to launch "Rocking on the Edge."
Lastly, before the next issue of Bywords.ca comes out, we'll celebrate the spring edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, which takes place from April 28 to May 3, 2011. The poetry section of the festival is particularly rich this spring, with a ghazal concert, a master class with American poet laureate Robert Pinksy and visits from both Coach House and House of Anansi, two stalwarts of poetry publishing in Canada. Get yourself a pass via www.writersfestival.org.
Thanks to this month's selection committee:
Claudia Coutu Radmore
Carol A. Stephen
I wish all of you a happy National Poetry Month. I hope the month reminds you to buy, read and listen to poetry. There are a lot of events happening this month. Consult the Bywords.ca calendar to find out when and where to go on a lovely spring evening.
If you have questions, comments or close up photographs of flowers to offer, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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