The Vallum Award for Poetry 2011 winners


Biographical Note:

Peter Richardson has published three books of poetry with Véhicule Press in Montreal, the most recent of which, Sympathy For the Couriers, won the QWF’s 2008A.M. Klein Award. A retired airline worker, he lives with his wife and daughter in Gatineau, Quebec.



1st Prize

Peter Richardson


Telecommuting Spouses

These two speak to each other through shifting
floor joists, wall studs. Footsteps on half-flights
of stairs, angling down from her attic office or
up from his pillbox-windowed cellar workshop,
telegraph intentions to go running or make tea.

She takes already-anglicised Inuit place names:
Cove Where There Used to be Walrus, Empty
Blubber Cache Bay and finds their equivalents
in a third language which he speaks woodenly
or eloquently depending on cosmic alignments.

They despair of acing each other’s vernacular
yet he listens to her when she greets their cat,
drinking in that flood of Gallic endearments
which is a music beyond correct formulations
able to jack up their crooked house of syntax.



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