Local poet nominated for CBC prize

North Saanich resident Pamela Porter finalist in 2013 CBC Poetry Prize running

Pamela Porter stands with one of her horses at her North Saanich home.

A local poet is in the running for a CBC Poetry Prize.

North Saanich resident Pamela Porter was shortlisted for the prize and will find out the results Monday, Sept. 30.

Porter’s long list of achievements includes winning the Malahat Review 50th Anniversary Poetry Prize, the Prism International Grand Prize in Poetry and the Gwendolyn MacEwan Best Poem Prize.

Her novel in verse, The Crazy Man, also won the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature.

Porter was nominated for the 2013 CBC Poetry Prize for her poem, Borealis, which she said was derived from a memory many years ago.

“The idea for the poem came from when my first born, my daughter, was very small,” explained Porter.

“We lived on a ranch east of the rockies and my husband travelled a lot so I was often alone. My daughter got pneumonia one winter and I remember having to drive her out to the hospital in this blizzard and it turned out the hospital was full so I decided to turn around and go home and take care of her there. In that moment I felt so vulnerable and that’s one of those memories that you never let go of. The memory lay buried for years and years and came out during the creative process.”

Porter has been interested in poetry since she was 15-years-old and really found her stride later in life.

“It took me a very long time to write long enough to really get into it and it took me even longer  to get a book published — 29 years. Now I get to go to schools and writing circles and talk to people about writing and the creative process.

I always tell people, whatever your dream is, never give up. If I’d given up at 15 years of writing I would have never seen any success,” said Porter, who has been shortlisted for the CBC award twice 16 and 17 years ago.

Porter’s third poetry collection, Cathedral, was also shortlisted for the 2011 Pat Lowther Award and her fourth collection, No Ordinary Place, was shortlisted for the 2013 Raymond Souster Award.

The other four English-language finalists are: James Scoles of Winnipeg for The Trailer, Cassidy McFadzean of Regina for On Naming and the Origin of Pity and Robin Richardson of Toronto for Sit How You Want, Dear; No One’s Looking and Alison Smith of New Germany, N.S., for Bluegrass.

If Porter wins, she will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have her story published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on the Canada Writes website. She would also be awarded a two-week residency at The Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists’ Colony.

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