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Rob Winger Shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Poetry

Posted: October 16, 2007

Ottawa poet Rob Winger has been shortlisted for Canada’s premier literary award for his first collection of poetry, Muybridge’s Horse (Nightwood Editions).

“Seeing my name on the shortlist was quite an incredible shock, especially given the other writers who are there too. And though it might sound clichéd to say so,” admitted Winger, who was travelling when he received the news, “I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to be nominated.”

Acclaimed poet Ken Babstock, himself shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize earlier this year, called Muybridge’s Horse “a serious accomplishment” for its “sustained energy, focus, and a wide array of special lenses.” Winger won the CBC Literary Award for Poetry in 2003 for selections of the collection.

Part history, part invention, Muybridge’s Horse is a sensual biographical long poem that follows the career of Eadweard Muybridge, a nineteenth-century British-born photographer whose studies of bodies in motion led to the invention of moving pictures. Rob Winger’s tale uses an inventive combination of poetic styles and voices, recounting early attempts to capture images on glass. Searching out stereoscopic beauty, Winger’s version of Muybridge carries portable darkrooms from the heights of Yosemite’s domes to the depths of the North and South American coastlines, and ultimately onto an 1878 race track, where a battery of fifty cameras settles a bet about a horse’s stride, forever changing the world’s understanding of movement.

Elegantly told, Muybridge’s Horse is an evocative exploration of history, personal obsession, passion and negatives.

Winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards--worth $25,000 each, and awarded in the categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children's literature and translation--will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 10am EST at La Grande Bibliothèque de Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec, in Montreal.