|Sean Moreland - PYGMALION & GALATEA
Although he grew up grudgingly in Kingston, Sean Moreland has been an Ottawa resident for the past ten years. He is currently a doctoral candidate and literature instructor at the University of Ottawa, where his morbid preoccupations are tolerated, if not outright encouraged.
"This poem of 34 lines (divided into two unrhymed triplets and 14 'blank' couplets) sustains a classic narrative visually, while also permitting taut and tantalizing wordplay. The poet crafts vivid, alive images-"belly's tease of pubic shadowing," "lubricious cavity," and "long / luxuriant plane of her shoulder"-but also allows enjoyable contrasts: "hard-soft, cold-hot stone," marble, unmoving, is somehow made to tremble / & ache," and the supreme, superb line, "Cool is somehow / made to burn." The poet also interrupts expectations, thanks to choice line-breaks and enjambment: "God" becomes "God / -ess"; "mount" is also "mount /-ain"; and "come"-a verb with orgasmic energy-is swiftly desexualized in the phrase, "come: // close." "Pygmalion and Galatea" is not only a ludic lyric; plain speech is also granted poetic power: "the feel / of her need to breathe & his to kiss her." That the sculpted pair are "hurtfully close" answers the "tender distance" separating them.
Compatriot critics, you may feel that the poem is not perfect yet. So be it. Yet, it takes the John Newlove Award because its poet is fearless-adventuring, risking, and daring much, specifically in making the poem an art form, but one as adamantly accessible and as plastic as language itself. Its teasing nature renders it pleasing, and there is no treasure without pleasure."
The annual John Newlove Poetry award, launched in the fall of 2004, commemorates the honest, poignant and well-written poetry of John Newlove, an Ottawa resident for almost twenty years and poet who died in 2003.
The 4 poems receiving honourable mention in 2007 are
iím just saying by cb forrest;
Kitchen by Kathryn Hunt;
GETTING ON by Gregory Myers;
WANDERJAHRE by Gregory Myers
Each year the winner will receive a certificate, a poetry book by John Newlove and the opportunity to publish a chapbook through Bywords. This yearís award winner received The Cave.
Poems published on bywords.ca from September 2007 to August 2008 will be eligible for consideration for next yearís Newlove award.