November 7, 2011 -- This just in!
This award is presented annually to a Canadian poet who published a book in the previous year that has followed in the tradition of poets Acorn, Livesay, Purdy, Plantos, and others by being accessible to all people in its use of language and image.
Oldest of eight children, Bruce Hunter was born in Calgary, as were his grandmother and his parents before him. His great grandfather homesteaded in 1886 at the confluence of the Bow and Highwood Rivers near High River. Hunter’s great-niece, a seventh generation Calgarian, is the latest arrival.
After graduating from high school in 1970, he worked as a labourer, gardener, equipment operator and Zamboni driver until he received a scholarship to attend the Banff School of Fine Arts to study with W.O. Mitchell.
In 1980, he moved to Toronto to study film and literature at York University, graduating with honours and teaching in the Creative Writing Department there and as an English instructor at Humber College. He also served for four years as poetry and poetry reviews editor for Writers' Quarterly. He returned to Banff as part of the teaching team under Mitchell.
Since 1986, he has taught at Seneca College where he is a professor of English and Liberal Studies at Seneca@York. In 2007, he served as Writer in Residence at the Richmond Hill Public Library and in 2002, at the Alberta Writer’s Guild’s Banff Retreat.
Recently he published a novel, In The Bear's House, a coming of age story about a deaf child who is sent to live in the wilderness on historic Kootenay Plains in west central Alberta and the extended Scottish immigrant family who raise him. He is currently editing Two O'Clock Creek, his new and selected poems representing 30 years of writing.
His work which often deals with blue-collar life has appeared in thirty journals including Canadian Fiction Magazine, The Canadian Forum, Grain, NeWest Review, Poetry Canada Review . His poetry has been broadcast on the CBC.
In 1999 and 2000, stories from Country Music Country appeared on Between the Covers.
Recent anthology appearances of his poetry and prose include: Cracked Wheat 2000, The Summit Anthology, Ninety Poets for the Nineties, What Is Already Known, A Rich Garland – Poems for A.M. Klein, Line By Line, Reading Writing and Paperwork.
Poems from Coming Home From Home were chosen for the People's Choice Awards for 1995 and shortlisted for the CBC/Saturday Night Literary Awards in 1997. In 2000, Coming Home From Home was chosen as one of the People's Choices top ten picks in poetry books.
The London Free Press calls Bruce Hunter one of the great chroniclers of Canada’s working people and “the Hank Williams of Canadian fiction.”
Author photo: Korby Banner