Musgrave in running for GG’s award

  • Oct. 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Poet Susan Musgrave had just woken from a disturbing dream when she tumbled down her stairs and plugged her phone in. As she did, it rang. It was the Canada Council calling to tell her she’d been nominated for the Governor General’s award for poetry. “It didn’t register,” she said, “I thought they were calling because I was overdue on a reading report or some such.” But Ms Musgrave, who lives along the Sangan River on Tow Hill Road, is one of five Canadian poets up for the prestigious literary award (also Garry Thomas Morse, Michael Boughn, Kate Eichhorn and Phil Hall). She has been nominated before, but the last time was in 1980, she said. She’s pleased to be up for her latest book of poetry, Origami Dove, which includes many poems about her life on Haida Gwaii. “It’s a book I like,” she said. Ten years in the making, the book encompasses her set of poems, the Sangan Meditations and “years of personal grief.” Of course, she’d love to follow in Leonard Cohen’s footsteps, who famously turned down the prize in 1968. According to Ms Musgrave, Mr. Cohen said “My poems won’t allow it.” “But my poems would be mad if I turned it down,” she said with a laugh. “Now it’s a lot more money.” The winner takes home $25,000.