Winner of the 2005 E.J. Pratt Poetry Award, and shortlisted for the Winterset Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Award
Call them prayers or curses. Fictions or true stories. Mary Dalton's new poems are voices caught in print, fashioned from the vigorous idioms and cadences of Newfoundland speech. Readers will, likely for the first time, encounter words like "conkerbells", "mollyfoostering", "mawmouth" and "elt"--potent words rich with the music of their centuries-old origins.
The Atlantic landscape, its water and weather, is made to play a memorable role in these poems, reflecting the often anarchic vitality of a complex, sea-dependent people. But the true marvel of Merrybegot, Dalton's third book, is the linguistic energy, the "salt accent," of its various speakers.
The title, Merrybegot (a child born outside marriage), aptly suggests this poetry's extraordinary originality. Here is a language, and a community, rendered in all its exuberant and irreverent life.
Merrybegot won the 2005 EJ Pratt Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for the Winterset Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award.
"Mary Dalton's Merrybegot has the quality of an instant classic. The short emphatic poems that comprise the collection possess an assurance, a distinctive completeness, reminiscent of songs or tales honed for generations in the popular imagination. The energy stored in them is remarkable.
--from the EJ Pratt Poetry Award jury
Mary Dalton was born at Lake View in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. She now lives in St. John's and teaches in the English department at Memorial University. She is the author of two collections of poetry, The Time of Icicles (1989) and Allowing the Light (1994), both published by Breakwater. Her poems, essays and reviews have appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada, the United States and Ireland. She has received various awards for her poetry, among them the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Award in 1997, and, in 1998, the inaugural TickleAce/Cabot Award.
"E.J. Pratt would be pleased. If he were still alive, the great poet would welcome with open arms sister Newfoundlander Mary Dalton into the ranks of Canadian bards."
-George Elliott Clarke
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