Duncan Major, a 4th year honours student in the English department, was this year’s winner of the Gregory J. Power Poetry Award. Mr. Major’s poem “Springtime” was first in the annual competition that honours emerging student poets at Memorial.
Mr. Major was presented with a cheque for $300 by Gregory Power Jr., son of the award’s namesake, at a ceremony on Thursday, April 3.
Greg Hewlett, an English student in his final year, won second prize ($200) for “Squint” and Kyle Carpenter took third ($100) with “Another Coast.” An honourable mention was also awarded to Kimberley Wilton for her poem “The Time In Between.”
The competition is open to all Memorial undergraduates and graduate students. Entries were judged by English department faculty members Dr. Jennifer Lokash and Dr. Susan Ingersoll and Memorial University’s current writer in residence (and former Gregory J. Power Poetry Award winner) Michael Crummey.
“The jury congratulates all 33 of the emerging writers who submitted their work to this year's competition,” said Dr. Lokash. “It was an exciting and diverse selection of 58 poems, but our four winners really stood out for their sophistication and for what they were trying to achieve. It was such a pleasure to hear them read their work so beautifully at the awards ceremony."
Poet and English professor Mary Dalton was also on hand at the ceremony to read from Gregory’s Power’s “Bogwood,” which has been called one of the province’s best literary achievements. Professor Dalton also awarded the Jeroboam Poetry Prize to student poet Greg Hewlett. The award was established by the founding members of the student publishing house Jeroboam to honour a poem with a subject unique to Newfoundland and Labrador.
In addition to readings by the student poets and Professor Dalton, Michael Crummey read from his poem “The Project.”
Gregory J. Power was born in Dunville in 1909 and first achieved recognition as an athlete; in 1930, he represented Newfoundland at the first British Empire Games. He was MHA for Placentia-St. Mary’s from 1951 to 1959, serving as both minister of Finance and minister of Highways in those years. However, this award is in recognition of Mr. Power’s literary gifts; he twice won the O’Leary Newfoundland Poetry Awards and published two important books: Gems of Newfoundland Poetry (1967) and The Power of the Pen (1989).