It's official: Nina Bruck is one of the three winners of the WCDR 2008 Poetry Chapbook Challenge, for Still Light at Five O'Clock (Sky of Ink Press). The other two winners are Teresa Donat Banks for Resident Alien (Believe your own press, Toronto) and Bill Howell, Ghost Test Flights (Rubicon Press, Toronto). (There is no first/second/third prize for this award: according to the contest organizer, narrowing it down to three is hard enough.)
Here are the judge's comments on Nina's book:
The poetry: This collection is a mature, wry, and accessible series of delightful, sure and confident poems. It is peopled with clearly evoked characters, places, and times – spanning the period from the ‘30s to the present – and captures exactly the different ages the poet lives through. There is no self-pity here, despite some rough times: radiation treatments faced with the hilarity of accurate observation (“Three young technicians aim my breast / at The Machine, / flee to another room”); the memory of a dead father beginning to fade, his cane in the basement “casting no shadows”; and the elegant sense that even after a lengthy failed marriage, the better memories will keep returning (“I made myself a dry martini, / missing the cool precision of his lemon peeler - / its perfect spiral”). And then there’s a playful but expert wordplay, the kind of thing that continues to make poetry, despite the seriousness of the theme, fun (“to the cold heat / in the sweat’s pit / where the orange rots / then the hot’s not / to the deaf eyes / and the tom thumb / and the legs bite / where the clocks run / and the song stops / on the second hand / and there’s no land / to land on”).
The chapbook: The book displays perfect, simple production values, the cover unadorned and of the same colour as the pages. Its outsized format and generous typeface contribute to the delight and seriousness of the collection. We have nothing but praise for the publisher’s production of this book.
On the same WCDR link you can also see video excerpts of the winners reading. Sample poems have also been posted.
For more poems and info. on Nina, her book and Sky of Ink Press, click on the labels below.
Still Light at Five O'Clock may be ordered from me for $12.50 (Cn. or Am., postage included) at firstname.lastname@example.org