The 2009 recipient of the Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry was announced recently. He is Brian Bartlett of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches literature and creative writing at St. Mary's University.
On reading his book, The Watchmaker's Table, I agree fully with the judges' decision. For those who have been following this blog, or who have explored it thoroughly, that may come as a slight surprise. When he read here for the Hamilton Poetry Centre last year, I ended up with some criticism here. Please remember that I was not turned off by his poetry as such; I only objected to the "haiku series" that he read.
That not only irritated me - it also blocked my mind from appreciating the nature of the rest of his poetry. It is accessible and lyrical, and a good follow-up to Acorn, Purdy, Nowlan, and Plantos. It intrigued me and made me think, consider the world we live in. And that's what poetry should do.
Oh yes. I read those "haiku series" that so upset me. Some of them aren't as bad as I had made them out to be. It's just that they don't meet my personal standards for haiku. (Even I don't meet them all the time!)
So, congratulations to Brian Bartlett, a fine poet. for The Watchmaker's Table, a fine book.