The E.J. Pratt Lecture

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of English are thrilled to announce that Professor Emerita Mary Dalton, Poet Laureate of the City of St. John's, will be giving the 2020 Pratt Lecture. 

Titled "The Vernacular Strain in Newfoundland Poetry," the Lecture will take place on the Main Stage of the LSPU Hall on Wednesday, March 4, at 8 pm. A reception will follow. Admission is free and all are most welcome to attend.

Mary Dalton is the celebrated author of the poetry collections Hooking: A Book of Centos (2013), Red Ledger (2006), Merrybegot (2003), Allowing the Light (1993), and The Time of Icicles (1989). Her chapbook Waste Ground, focusing on once-valued plants such as dog rose, yarrow, sorrel, and nettles, was released in June 2017 with original engravings by Massachusetts artist Abigail Rorer; and her chapbook  Between You and the Weather was released in 2008. Her literary criticism has been collected in Edge: Essays, Reviews, Interviews (2015). In 2009 she founded the SPARKS Literary Festival, serving as its director from 2009 to 2015. In the spring of 2019 she hosted Cornucopia, a celebration of St. John’s poetry featuring eleven poets. She is currently host of the poetry podcast Flahoolic, produced by CHMR Radio and available on iTunes, soundcloud.com and various other podcast platforms. A set of six poems focusing on the figure Alba is due to appear shortly in the journal Riddle Fence.

Dalton's poetry has received various awards, among them the TickleAce/Cabot Award for Poetry in 1998. Merrybegot won the 2005 E. J. Pratt Poetry Award, the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry, and was shortlisted also for the 2004 all-genre Winterset Award, the 2004 Pat Lowther Memorial Poetry Award (a national award given annually to the best book of poetry by a Canadian woman), and the 2005 Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Award. Red Ledger was shortlisted for the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the E. J. Pratt Poetry Award for 2007. Hooking was shortlisted for the CBC Bookies Award, the J.M. Abraham Award (the newly named Atlantic Poetry Prize) for 2014, and the inaugural Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry in 2014, a national award recognizing excellence in experimental poetry. In 2017 Hooking was also included on the CanLit150 list of book recommendations by the Toronto Word on the Street Festival.

Dalton's Pratt Lecture will explore the emergence of the vernacular voice in the writing of various Newfoundland poets, describing a gradual shift from ambivalence and hesitation to an embracing of the riches the language resources of Newfoundland afford them.

Dedicated to fostering the public appreciation of the literary arts, the Pratt Lecture is the oldest public lecture at Memorial University. Past lecturers include George Elliott Clarke, Dionne Brand, Northrop Frye, Terry Eagleton, Ursula LeGuin, Alberto Manguel, and Anne Carson.

In the embedded video below, David Mikics and Stephen Burt discuss Dalton's "Flirrup," from Merrybegot. Their discussion begins at 21:30 and ends at 27:50.  

 

 

Pratt Lecture

The annual Pratt Lectures are published in pamphlet form and are available from the Department office.

Past Pratt Lectures

The annual Pratt Lectures are published in pamphlet form and are available from the Department office.

Past Pratt Lectures