Creator: Catherine Banks (playwright)
Nominator: Reina Green
In this play, published in 2012 by Playwrights Canada Press, middle-aged Margaret reflects on her sexual desire and the suppression of her creativity through the metaphor of Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” The play turns the usual understanding of “poetic muse” on its head as muse Wallace Stevens, with his bullying, confrontational ways, both inspires Margaret and paralyzes her artistic drive—even as he forces her to recognize emotions she had previously suppressed. Readings of the play have been held as far away as Catalonia, where the text was translated into Catalan. It was staged in Halifax by White Rooster Theatre and HomeFirst Productions in 2014.
Jury Comments: A fascinating, affecting exploration of the relationship between sexuality and creativity, elegantly constructed.
Creator Catherine Banks lives in Nova Scotia.
Creator: Dinuk Wijeratne (composer)
Nominator: Burt Wathen
In the 15-minute work commissioned by the Toronto-based Gryphon Trio, the composer integrates Asian scales, melodies and rhythmic patterns, together with improvisation, in a through-composed piece. The Gryphon Trio musicians are trained as interpreters, not improvisers, and the “improvised” passages had to be fully notated—yet they sound utterly convincing. Wijeratne seamlessly synthesizes the tendencies of his previous works to incorporate diverse cultural influences. Love Triangle has been performed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Ontario, and abroad. The Gryphon Trio continues to tour internationally with this captivating piece of chamber music.
Jury Comments: Moving and exotic. Wijeratne masterfully synthesizes the tendencies of his previous works to incorporate diverse influences.
Creator Dinuk Wijeratne was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Nova Scotia.
Creator: Sara Hartland-Rowe (visual artist)
Nominator: Sheila Provazza
Composed of seven uniquely shaped enamel-on-aluminum panels arranged on the 280-foot wall of a bus concourse, Travellers imaginatively integrates the figures with the frame and successfully competes with the distracting background of interlocking blocks.
Jury Comments: An original, mature solution for a site that is only intermittently visually accessible. Sensitive figure drawing elevates the unpretentious subject matter—everyday people using public transit—so that each figure has the status of a portrait.
Travellers is installed at the Dartmouth bridge terminal.
Creator Sara Hartland-Rowe lives in Halifax.
Creator: Randy Glynn (choreographer)
Nominator: Dawn MacNutt
Created for untrained dancers, Dancing in the Third Act is a one-hour piece danced by seniors. It was created in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in 2013. The piece expresses the desire to dance and contains gestures that are clearly derived from the dancers’ habitual ways of moving; the choreography is thus strikingly suited to the abilities and personalities of the dancers. The Nova Scotia cast has been invited to perform across Canada and abroad, and the piece has been remounted several times with new casts of seniors in Ontario.
Jury Comments: Fresh, touching, and dignified. The choreographer has a gift for making natural movement interesting.
Creator Randy Glynn lives in Granville Ferry and Toronto.
Creator: Sue Goyette (poet)
Nominator: Stephanie Domet
The poems in this collection are numbered, not titled, from 1 through 56. These designations accommodate the ebb and flow of the contents. A previous commentator remarked, “In Ocean, Goyette’s vigorous language and large vision create an extraordinary new history of the way the sea has formed human consciousness, shoreline experience and poetry itself.”
Jury Comments: How daring to take the ocean as a principal character—yet the characterization of the ocean is endlessly diverse! The original use of non-rhyming couplets is impressive, as is their repetitive, wave-like arrangement on the page. The richly varied levels of accessibility add to the poems’ appeal.
Ocean is published by Gaspereau Press. It is in its fifth printing.
Creator Sue Goyette lives in Halifax.