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Nightwood Author Wins Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Posted: April 28, 2008

Nightwood Editions is pleased to announce that forage by Rita Wong has won the BC Book Prizes’ Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. The $2,000 prize, awarded to the best book of poetry published in BC during the preceding year, was announced at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prize Gala held in Vancouver on Saturday, April 26.

Of her win, Wong said, "having just returned from a reading tour in the Kootenays with [other book prize nominees] Meg Tilly, David Jones and Heather Burt, I was surprised, happy, and grateful for this honour.  I'm very pleased that the BC Book Prizes are putting thousands of dollars of books into school libraries in this province through the Adopt-a-Library program.  I plan to devote the prize to supporting future projects that integrate creative practices with ecological concerns."

Like the title suggests, the poems in forage address the ravaging of the planet and humanity by abusive powers. Wong’s discourse situates itself on modern international political planes, but leaves space for humour, beauty and resilience to shine within this burning global landscape. forage confronts our current “value chain” in relation to such colossal topics as patriotism, environmental issues, race and gender roles, history, media, food, housing, addiction and the unsubstantiated accumulation of waste.

Wong intersperses the pages of forage with clever wordplay and frames her poems with evocative marginalia, Chinese characters and quotes from influential cultural icons. forage sings a song of “skeptical love in a body politic with revolt” through “the corridors of power noisy with mistakes” (stance). In the words of Shani Mootoo, “this little book of poems leads the literary wing of the 21st century’s people’s revolution” and is a vivid, fierce commentary on our international political landscape and the injustices it breeds.