The Malahat Review congratulates Laura Ritland on winning this year's Far Horizons Poetry contest! Her poem, "Vincent, in the Dream of Zundert," was chosen from close to 800 entries by our final judge, Julie Bruck. Ritland's poem will appear in our Winter 2015 issue (#189). She was awarded a $1,000 prize for her win.
Here's what Julie Bruck had to say about Ritland's piece: "This letter poem from Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo was born to be a pantoum. Vincent's circular attempts to retrieve a childhood place and time before the 'shadows' of madness closed in find their pulse in the pantoum's pattern of repetitions. The form takes one step forward, three steps back, until the reader is also caught in the thwarted, head-banging sensation of trying to resurrect a lost past.
Equally remarkable here is how the poem teems with colour, though not a single colour is named. Instead, things themselves seem to emit their hues from within: 'Mother, there, like a colour I find sometimes in stories / that go on under an endless afternoon sun without me.... Each path, each field, the magpies in the acacia in the cemetery.'
Both dark and golden, the poem roils like a Van Gogh wheat field. While it enacts the movement of a very particular mind and evokes the brushwork of a singular hand, this poem belongs to its readers."
Laura Ritland graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and English Literature, and is currently completing her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Branch Magazine, The Maynard, Qwerty and Contemporary Verse 2. Starting this September, she will be working on her creative Master’s thesis under the mentorship of Karen Solie.
Congratulations to all the finalists: Simon Peter Eggertsen, Janet Joyner, Brittany Kraus, Jaime Denike, Emily Skov-Nielsen, Raf Newman, Kilby Smith-McGregor, Nathalie Sorensen, Alexa Eldred, Elise Marcella Godfrey, Kat Cameron, Marion Quednau, Annick MacAskill, Nat Marshik, Rhonda Ganz, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Mollie Coles Tonn, Sneha Madhavan-Reese, Jennifer Zilm, Eric Berlin, and Royston Tester.
Watch for an interview with Laura Ritland in the September 2014 edition of Malahat lite.