Sunday, March 02, 2014

Patrick White (September 15, 1948-March 1, 2014)

The third and (so far) final Poet Laureate of Ottawa (1987-1990), Patrick White, has died after an extended battle with cancer. This note appeared yesterday from Patrick's daughter, Jody:
Hello All... By the time most of you see this message, my father Patrick will have left us and finally be out of pain. As you all know, from the moment he found out he had cancer, he fought it. He never wavered and I truly believe his final goal was to make his last poetry reading in Ottawa last week, and he made it. His true passion in life was his painting and his poetry, and I would like to be able to say something moving and poetic, but unfortunately, it was not a gift that was passed on to me. So, let me thank you instead, on his behalf, for the support, the encouragement, the kind words, and for being there. Always. Whenever he needed you.
A celebration of Patrick's life is in the very early planning stages. This information will be passed on as soon as there is more info to give.
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In recent times, Patrick lived in Perth, Ontario. Many of us came to know him as Poet Laureate of Ottawa (1987-1990).
A bio for a 2011 reading he did for Ottawa's AB Series reads:
Patrick White is former Poet Laureate of Ottawa. He is the author of eight books of poetry: Poems (Soft Press), God in the Rafters (Borealis), Stations (Commoner’s Books), Homage to Victor Jara (Steel Rail Press), Seventeen Odes (Fiddlehead Books), Orpheus on Highbeam (Anthos Books), Habitable Planets, New and Selected Poems (Cormorant Books), and The Benjamin Chee Chee Elegies (General Store Publishing).

Winner of the Archibald Lampman Award, Canadian Literature Award, Benny Nicholas Award for Creative Writing, he was also a runner-up for the Milton Acorn People’s Poet Award. He is founding editor and publisher of Anthos, a Journal of the Arts, Anthos Books, and producer-host of Radio Anthos, a popular literary radio show.

George Woodcock wrote of his Selected Poems in the Ottawa Citizen: "He promises to be one our best and best respected poets." Sharon Drache, in the Kingston Whig Standard: "He might well win the Nobel Prize one day in his own inimitable way." And Orbis (London, England), has said of his work: "His images are strong, lyrical, moving. He dares and achieves."
Some have suggested that he was best known as Poet Laureate, but he contributed a great deal as a literary provocateur, including as founding editor/publisher of Ottawa poetry publisher Anthos Books and Anthos Magazine throughout the 1970s and into the 80s (publishing early collections by a number of Ottawa writers), as well as long-time host of Anthos Radio at CKCU. He was also well known in and around Ottawa for his own poetry collections, before disappearing from local literary life to Perth, Ontario in 1990. His ninth poetry collection, RedShift (ekstasis editions, 2013), was launched barely two weeks before he died, at Beechwood Books on February 16, 2014.

1 comment:

Arikcarlo said...

I was an Ottawa poet starting in the late 1970s until my move to BC in 2005.

I was warm acquainted with Patrick White, whom I got to know through Juan O'Neill, the founder of the Sasquatch Poetry Reading.

Patrick published my poetry and received me on his poetry radio program.

I admired his devotion, dedication, stamina and tenacity relating to poetry.

I admired his refusal to be complacent.

I still have his book, HOMAGE TO VICTOR JARA, with lines of immense power, in my library.

For some creative artists, it's anger that fuels their creativity. Patrick was no stranger to that dynamic.

He was part of my literary youth; so I received the news of his passing with a pang.

RIP, oh literary warrior. It's now time to lay down your sword and sleep.