Congratulations to Garry Thomas Morse for becoming a finalist to receive the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for Discovery Passages, an exploration of the author’s ancestral Kwakwaka’wakw people, set in contemporary poetics. One of the central motifs linked within the poetry is that of the potlatch, a traditional ceremony that was banned in BC in 1884 as an amendment to the Indian Act. The term potlatch originated with the Chinook and translates to gift-giving. Potlaches were sharing feasts that included singing and dancing; the giving away of possessions took place, which was looked down upon by Europeans. The ban was enacted due to being seen as an unnecessary ritual and not in agreement with the “higher” mindset of European civilization at the time.

The book retraces Captain Vancouver’s original sailing route and draws upon both oral and written tradition to share local memory and language.  Morse said:

I am honoured and thrilled to find my work included with such outstanding company. I am also a huge fan of Sharon Thesen and also her nominated beauty Oyama Pink Shale. Can I (secretly) pull for her?

See Canadian Literature for a full review.

For a list of BC Book Prize finalists, click here.

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Written by Mary Woodbury

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