Governor General's Award for English-language poetry or drama

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The Governor General's Award for English-language poetry or drama was a Canadian literary award that annually recognized one Canadian writer for a work of poetry or drama published in English. It was one of the Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit from 1937 to 1980 (publication years, which conventionally date the awards). After 1980 it was divided into the award for English-language poetry and award for English-language drama. The Governor General's Awards program is administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The program was created in 1937 and inaugurated that November for 1936 publications in two English-language categories, conventionally called the 1936 awards. The poetry or drama award was introduced one year later, as one of three 1937 Governor General's Awards.[1]



Year Author Title
1937 E. J. Pratt The Fable of the Goats
1938 Kenneth Leslie By Stubborn Stars
1939 Arthur S. Bourinot Under the Sun


Year Author Title
1940 E. J. Pratt Brébeuf and His Brethren
1941 Anne Marriott Calling Adventurers!
1942 Earle Birney David and Other Poems
1943 A. J. M. Smith News of the Phoenix
1944 Dorothy Livesay Day and Night
1945 Earle Birney Now is Time
1946 Robert Finch Poems
1947 Dorothy Livesay Poems for People
1948 A.M. Klein The Rocking Chair and Other Poems
1949 James Reaney The Red Heart


Year Author Title
1950 James Wreford Watson Of Time and the Lover
1951 Charles Tory Bruce The Mulgrave Road
1952 E. J. Pratt Towards the Last Spike
1953 Douglas LePan The Net and the Sword
1954 P. K. Page The Metal and the Flower
1955 Wilfred Watson Friday's Child
1956 Robert Ford A Window on the North
1957 Jay Macpherson The Boatman
1958 James Reaney A Suit of Nettles
1959 Irving Layton Red Carpet for the Sun


Year Author Title
1960 Margaret Avison Winter Sun
1961 Robert Finch Acis in Oxford
1962 James Reaney Twelve Letters to a Small Town and The Killdeer and Other Plays
1963 No award presented
1964 Raymond Souster The Colour of the Times
1965 Al Purdy The Cariboo Horses
1966 Margaret Atwood The Circle Game
1967 Eli Mandel An Idiot Joy
Alden Nowlan Bread, Wine and Salt
1968 Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956–68
1969 George Bowering Rocky Mountain Foot and The Gangs of Kosmos
Gwendolyn MacEwen The Shadow-Maker


Year Author Title
1970 bpNichol The True Eventual Story of Billy the Kid
Michael Ondaatje The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
1971 John Glassco Selected Poems
1972 Dennis Lee Civil Elegies and Other Poems
John Newlove Lies
1973 Miriam Mandel Lions at Her Face
1974 Ralph Gustafson Fire on Stone
1975 Milton Acorn The Island Means Minago
1976 Joe Rosenblatt Top Soil
1977 D. G. Jones Under the Thunder the Flowers Light Up the Earth
1978 Patrick Lane Poems New and Selected
1979 Michael Ondaatje There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do
Erín Moure Empire, York Street
Susan Musgrave A Man to Marry, a Man to Bury


Year Author Title
1980 Stephen Scobie McAlmon's Chinese Opera
Douglas Lochhead High Marsh Road
See Governor General's Award for English-language poetry and Governor General's Award for English-language drama for 1981 and after.


  1. ^ "Governor General's Literary Awards" [table of winners, 1936–1999]. online guide to writing in canada ( Retrieved 2015-08-18.

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