Professor Richard Greene of UTM’s English department was chosen out of 171 applicants as the winner of the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for his book, Boxing the Compass. Along with the award comes a $25,000 cash prize.
Greene, who teaches 20th-century British literature and creative writing, was notified of his win during a break in his 18th-century literature class.
“The award gives me great encouragement—a sense that after many years of working in relative isolation, my work has been received and admired,” Greene said in a press release to the University of Toronto. “I could not ask for more. It allows me to approach my work with a greater hope of being read and understood.”
In a press release to the University of Toronto, Greene joked that winning the award felt like being let into a prestigious club. “You write poetry and few people read it. This makes me think of standing outside a club. The bouncer starts pointing, “YOU, YOU, and YOU! GO IN!” And so now I can have my beer and listen to the band!”
The Governor General’s Literary Award is the oldest and most prestigious award for English and French literature. Categories include illustrators and translators in the categories of fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction, children’s literature, and translation.
“This year’s recipients are excellent representatives of the talent and immense creativity of Canadian writers, illustrators, and translators. I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to these artists, people who—through their passion—ignite our love of reading with every new book,” said David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
A ceremony will be held on November 25 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, honouring the 14 recipients of the Governor General’s Literary Award. Johnston will present the awards to the winners where they will also receive bound copies of their work.
“Richard Greene’s Boxing the Compass leaves us feeling unmoored, adrift across time and voice. The matchless long poem at its heart pulls us back to our always-moving selves, on an always-moving earth. We follow him in his offbeat but strangely familiar travels,” said the jury in a press release to the University of Toronto.
Greene has published two books of poetry before Boxing the Compass and is the editor of Graham Greene: A Life in Letters. His next book, Hide and Seek: The Life of Edith Sitwell, is in the process of being published.