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BC Poet Peter Trower Wins Prestigious National Prize


Posted: April 11, 2005

BC Poet Peter Trower has just been awarded the Canadian Authors Association Jack Chalmers Poetry Award for his book Haunted Hills and Hanging Valleys. Sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association, this award honours writing “that achieves excellence without sacrificing popular appeal” and comes with a $1,000 prize and accompanying silver medal.

The award will be presented at an awards banquet at the Canadian Authors Association National Conference in Waterloo, Ontario on Saturday, June 25, 2005. Prior to the banquet there will also be a public reading by the award winners.

“This is a definitive selected and displays Peter Trower’s unique achievement as a poet,” wrote one of the CAA judges. “Trower sings his personal story and that of the rugged, beautiful BC coast and its people in a voice that is passionate, clear, true, and alive. Full of tightly crafted, forceful, and musical pieces ranging from inspired re-workings of the traditional ballad form to free verse narratives to contemporary lyrics, this book contributes to the literature of Canada a number of memorable poems of the highest order.”

Haunted Hills and Hanging Valleys presents for the first time the best work of a writing career that has drawn Trower praise as “the poet laureate of this mountain kingdom” from Al Purdy and for “heft and passion and a gift for telling place and detail” from Irving Layton. Thirty-five years after the publication of his first book, this long-awaited poetry collection confirms Peter Trower as one of our country’s most important poets.  

Peter Trower was born at St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, England in 1930. He immigrated to British Columbia at age ten, following the death of his test-pilot father in a plane crash.From whistle punk to smelter worker to faller to crane operator, Trower worked in logging camps up and down the West Coast for 22 years, collecting the stories and soaking in the vivid imagery and personalities that would characterize much of his perceptively crafted, musical poetry. Since 1971, he has published 14 books of poetry and contributed to several issues of Raincoast Chronicles and Vancouver Magazine. He has also written three novels on West Coast logging life—Grogan's Cafe, Dead Man's Ticket and The Judas Hills—and recently performed and wrote the lyrics for the music album Kisses in the Whisky. Trower lives in Gibsons, British Columbia.