This year's judge was Gregory Betts.
"The secret heart of poetry is the jolt of familiar things, familiar words reimagined. This is how poetry, like Frankenstein’s monster, brings dead things back to life. The winning poem in this year’s John Newlove Award presents a lush folding of language and image that sounds convincing, but requires delightful imaginative leaps to fill the resonant gaps. Here is a space for vitality. Fabulous poetry can have a monstrous vitality. The art of juxtaposition is a sudden, revealing turn away from what is expected and dull into something new and more. The art of plywood, however, is in gluing bits of scrap together until the motley jangle becomes strong enough to work. This poem is like plywood, for it uses multiple valences to find a source of iron whim. It pulls these disparate forces all together, glues them solid, and then travels forth into imaginary landscapes on a raft made of collaged words."
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.