Joe Denham, winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry earlier this year, is a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in the poetry category for his third collection, Regeneration Machine (Nightwood Editions, 2015). Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Award honours the best in Canadian literature, with seven different categories for both English- and French-language authors. All finalists receive $1,000,and the winners, who will be revealed on October 25, will each receive $25,000.
Regeneration Machine is a 100-stanza, 9,000-word letter-in-verse written to the ghost of Nevin Sample, Denham’s close friend who tragically ended his life over 20 years ago. The book is a moving requiem, elegy, lament; a sort of flailing attempt to make sense of the nonsensically violent way that a non-violent,caring, intelligent young man chose to end his life.
Joe Denham is the author of two other poetry collections, Flux (2003) and Windstorm (2009), and the novel The Year of Broken Glass (2011). Regeneration Machine also won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry in 2016. Denham’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets (2004). He is currently at work on a sequel to Windstorm, and is preparing to release his first album of songs, Lost at Sea, in the spring of 2017. He lives with his wife and two children in Halfmoon Bay, BC.
“Regeneration Machine is a wave-like poem of impressive integrity, at times muscular and searing, at times delicate and tender. It possesses that rare quality of reading as if its poet either had to write it or else sink into utter despair at the loss of his faith in the human spirit’s capacity to withstand the ravages our exploited planet continues to endure.”
—Canadian Authors Association
Other English-language finalists for the Governor General’s Award in Poetry include The Waking Comes Late by Steven Heighton (House of Anansi Press), Throaty Wipes by Susan Holbrook (Coach House Books), Prairie Harbour by Garry Thomas Morse (Talon Books), and Marry & Burn by Rachel Rose (Harbour Publishing).