UNBC geography professor Sarah de Leeuw is a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize that goes to the B.C. or Yukon author of the best work of poetry.
Her book, called Geographies of a Lover, is up against Colin Browne for The Properties; Roger Farr for IKMQ; Vancouver poet laureate Evelyn Lau for A Grain of Rice; and Patricia Young for Night-Eater.
"This is pretty exciting news," said de Leeuw, who has to miss the celebration of nominees in Vancouver on April 10 but will be able to attend the event where winners will be announced, at the 29th annual Lieutenant Governor's B.C. Book Prizes gala on May 4 at Government House in Victoria. "I have to say I feel so honoured. I'm in really, really good company."
de Leeuw said she will celebrate with friend Anne Fleming, who is nominated for an Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her book Gay Dwarves of America.
"We're going on a double date," laughed de Leeuw. "So we're really excited. It's really just an honour to be nominated -- or to be finalized. At this point, it doesn't even matter. There are so many amazing northern B.C. poets, I am in incredible company. Barry McKinnon has been shortlisted for this award, Ken Belford, Gillian Wigmore has been shortlisted, so you know, for Prince George, that's pretty amazing. There must be something in the water up here."
Poet Nancy Holmes called de Leeuw's, Geographies of a Lover, a work of "eco-erotica," de Leeuw added.
"I was so touched by that," said de Leeuw. "I think that's a lovely synopsis of it. It certainly it is an erotic book, and more than just being sexually provocative, it fits in the genre of eco-poetics where I'm really looking at really deep, physical, sexual connection with landscape. I'm contemplating loss and it's told through the narrative of loss of a lover but that's a metaphor really, for human loss of connection with the physical world around us. So yes, it's an erotic, arousing text, but also a text that's sad. I mean for it to move us and hopefully arouse in readers a sense of the very intimate tie between human beingness and physical geography. We are extensions of our physical geography and if we lose that connection we are losing a love affair."
Sarah de Leeuw's Geographies of a Lover (NeWest Press), a free-verse narrative, is available at Books & Co., 1685 Third Ave.