Phil Hall published his first book of poetry while still an undergraduate studying drama and English at the University of Windsor.
The 1973 collection, Eighteen Poems, was printed in Mexico City, he recalls: “typeset by people who didn’t speak English. It was full of typos.”
His work has come a long way since then. The Canada Council for the Arts announced that the latest book by two-time UWindsor alumnus (BA 1976, MA creative writing 1978), a collection of poem-essays entitled Killdeer, is a finalist for the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry.
“There’s a piece in there called Becoming a Poet and it tells about my time in Windsor,” Hall said in an interview from his home in Perth, Ontario.
While in Windsor, he studied under Joyce Carol Oates and her late husband Ray Smith, as well as professor emeritus Eugene McNamara.
“I owe him a visit,” said Hall.
This is actually his second GG award nomination. His Trouble Sleeping earned a nod in 2001. The other 2011 poetry finalists are Michael Boughn, Cosmographia: A Post-Lucretian Faux Micro-Epic; Kate Eichhorn, Fieldnotes, A Forensic; Garry Thomas Morse, Discovery Passages; and Susan Musgrave, Origami Dove.
Canada’s national book awards, these Canada Council awards celebrate and promote the excellence of Canadian writers, illustrators and translators. The Canada Council’s peer assessment committees selected the GG shortlist after reading, between them, a total of 1,684 eligible books submitted for this year’s awards.
The winners will be announced on November 15; Governor General David Johnston will present the awards November 24 at Rideau Hall.