UVic pro­fes­sor wins poetry prize

Times Colonist - - Arts - — Mike Devlin, Times Colonist

Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria writ­ing pro­fes­sor Tim Lil­burn has been awarded the Euro­pean Medal of Poetry and Art, mak­ing him the first Cana­dian to re­ceive the award.

The Brus­sels-based Euro­pean prize known as the Homer Medal is awarded an­nu­ally to cre­ators in the world of lit­er­a­ture and the vis­ual arts whose work “with sim­plic­ity and beauty [gives] a univer­sal mes­sage to the world,” ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers. Pre­vi­ous win­ners in­clude po­ets from Turkey, Ar­me­nia, China, the U.S. and Iraq.

“To be part of a group that in­cludes [for­mer win­ners] like the Lithua­nian poet To­mas Ven­clova, who would com­plain?” Lil­burn said. “It is a great hon­our.”

Beijing poet Zhao Si Fang will be on hand to present Lil­burn with his medal dur­ing an Oct. 10 cer­e­mony on the UVic cam­pus. Fang has been trans­lat­ing the work of Lil­burn since 2008, in­clud­ing his ac­claimed 2012 col­lec­tion of poems Assini­boia.

Lil­burn, a Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Award-win­ning poet, has au­thored 12 books of poetry and es­says. He has a pair of books due in 2018, in­clud­ing a col­lec­tion of es­says, The Larger Con­ver­sa­tion: Con­tem­pla­tion and Place, and a book-length poem, The House of Charle­magne.

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