Power Poets

Apr 7th, 2016

Janet Harron

Power Poets

Local writer Andrea Callanan is this year’s winner of the Gregory J. Power Poetry Award.

Ms. Callanan’s poem, “Revival” won first prize in the annual competition honouring Memorial’s poets. She was presented with a cheque for $300 by Julia Power, granddaughter of the award’s namesake, at a ceremony on Thursday, April 6. Gregory J. Power Jr. was also present at the ceremony.

Matthew Hollett won second prize valued at $200, for “Berrypickers in Bauline” and Katie Vautour took third, valued at $100 for “Patient.” Both Mr. Howlett and Ms. Vautour are working towards diplomas in creative writing. Honourable mentions were awarded to MA students Shannon Webb Campbell for “The Decolonization of My Heart” and Megan Loch for “Depart 7 am Tuesday.” Undergraduate English student Alexandra Duff received honourable mention for “It Follows.”


The competition is open to all Memorial undergraduates and graduate students. Judges Drs. Joel Deshaye and Susan Ingersoll (now retired from the Department of English) received 55 poems from 32 entrants (the rules allow for each entrant to submit up to two poems).

“Andreae Callanan's poem "Revival" stood out because it is a deft historical tale of pickles, which is not a typical subject of a poem and which made the history snappy,” said Dr. Deshaye. “The poem has playful changes of tone — the speaker aghast at the prospect of the end of national pickle production (‘no pickles left in the shops at all’), and then proudly resourceful as the locals execute a plan to restore the supply by themselves, each local business offering ‘a signature slant, / each community a variation, an accent.’ It's a pitch-perfect, sparkling, focused commentary on the potential for local self-sufficiency in an era of globalization.”

Ms. Callanan plans to begin her MA with a creative focus in the spring semester. She is currently enrolled in a graduate level poetry course.

At the ceremony, Professor Mary Dalton 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 Mr. Hollett for “Merchant Vessel.” 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.

Gregory J. Power was born in Dunville, N.L., in 1909 and first achieved recognition as an athlete; in 1930, he represented Newfoundland at the first British Empire Games. He was a Member of the House of Assembly for Placentia-St. Mary’s from 1951 to 1959, serving as both minister of Finance and minister of Highways in those years. The Gregory J. Power Poetry Prize recognizes 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).