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League of Canadian Poets 2021 Awards

Read Alberta would like to send our congratulations to Bertrand Bickersteth, whose book, The Response of Weeds, has won the 2021 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, presented by the League of Canadian Poets. This award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized authors’ tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes a first book of poetry published by a Canadian. The award carries a $2,000 prize. We would also like to congratulate Valerie Mason-John, author of I Am Still Your Negro, who was also recognized on the longlist.

Two Alberta-published books were recognized by another award presented by the League of Canadian poets. The Raymond Souster Award is given for a book of poetry by a League of Canadian Poets member. The award honours Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets. The award carries a $2,000 prize. Congratulations to Meredith Quartermain, author of Lullabies in the Real World, and Lisa Richter, author of Nautilus and Bone for making the longlist.




Bertrand Bickersteth’s debut poetry collection explores what it means to be Black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical. The Response of Weeds offers a much-needed window on often overlooked contributions to the province’s character and provides personal perspectives on the question of Black identity on the prairies. Through these rousing and evocative poems, Bickersteth uses language to call up the contours of the land itself, land that is at once mesmerizing as it is dismissively effacing. Such is Black identity here on this paradoxical land, too.

Crow Said Poetry

Response of Weeds, The: A Misplacement of Black Poetry on the Prairies

by Bertrand Bickersteth (CA)

Published: Apr 01, 2020 by NeWest Press
ISBN: 9781988732794


Spoken-word poet Valerie Mason-John unsettles readers with potent images of ongoing trauma from slavery and colonization. Her narratives range from the beginnings of the African Diaspora to the story of a stowaway on the Windrush, from racism and sexism in Trump’s America to the wide impact of the Me Too movement. Stories of entrapment, sexual assault, addictive behaviours, and rave culture are told and contrasted to the strengthening and forthright voice of Yaata, Supreme Being. I Am Still Your Negro is truth that needs to be told, re-told, and remembered.

Robert Kroetsch Series

I Am Still Your Negro: An Homage to James Baldwin

by Valerie Mason-John (CA)

Published: Jan 31, 2020 by University of Alberta Press
ISBN: 9781772125108



Meredith Quartermain’s Lullabies in the Real World is a sequence of poems about a train journey from West Coast to East Coast that invokes a patchwork of regions, voices and histories. Her language zings with train rhythms as she unfolds a complex conversation with poets such as bpNichol and Robin Blaser.

This collection reflects and refracts Canada from diverse angles, and challenges colonizing literatures such as the Odyssey and various canonical British and US voices. As it moves from west to east, the book journeys back in time to interrogate historical events such as the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the exclusion of Acadians. It ends by imagining a time before or outside colonization.

Crow Said Poetry

Lullabies in the Real World

by Meredith Quartermain (CA)

Published: Apr 01, 2020 by NeWest Press
ISBN: 9781988732787

Nautilus and Bone chronicles the life and work of the radical, passionate Russian-Jewish American poet Anna Margolin on her path toward self-determination. Blending myth, surrealism, historical fact and fiction, this collection of persona poems brings to life one of the most celebrated Yiddish poets of her generation.


by Lisa Richter (CA)

Published:  2020 by Frontenac
ISBN: 9781989466124