International Affairs assistant pens prize-winning poem

Jade Bowie, International Affairs assistant, recently won the Region's poetry contest.

Jade Bowie, International Affairs assistant, recently won the Region's poetry contest.

While many people are having a love affair with their pillow, Jade Bowie is having a date with her muse.

The International Affairs assistant can sometimes be found penning her thoughts early in the morning while others strive for more shut-eye. The words she writes could be the makings of a novel or her next poem.

“Mornings are the best time of day for me to write, with a coffee in my hands and before all those other responsibilities crop up,” Bowie said.

Not hitting snooze earned Bowie some recent recognition when her poem Photo Album won in the English category of the Niagara Region Poetry Contest. A winner was also announced in the French category.

Photo Album stood out among the entries because it “vividly evokes the sights, sounds and tastes of Niagara and how the many different experiences of our region create memories that are at once personal and shared,” a news release said.

Bowie received a prize of $175 and read her poem at a Regional council meeting.

The win, she said, is thrilling.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be recognized for my work,” Bowie said. “It’s great to see government appreciating the value in and importance of poetry, literary arts, and culture, especially at a local level.”

Regional Coun. Doug Joyner, who co-chairs the Region’s culture committee, which hosted the contest, said this year’s contest winners showed “considerable skill.”

“What is equally exciting, however, is the relative youth of this year’s winners,” Joyner said. “Not only is Niagara’s literary landscape clearly full of talented writers, as our many excellent contest entries showed, but with voices such as these, its future is also very bright.”

Bowie, an avid writer has had other work published and won the Canadian Author’s Association Prize for Poetry.

Her latest accolades give her further credibility as a writer, she noted.

“As is the case after any recognition, winning this award inspires me to keep writing and to do so more often,” Bowie said. “It makes me feel like my writing is enjoyed by others, and that there is some value in it.”

Bowie writes when time allows but said she tries to do it at least a few days a week. She also writes short stories and has two novels drafted.

“Most of the time, I just write to get something on the page, and if I see something valuable, I’ll spend time revising it, sending it to friends or family for comments and review, and editing it some more,” she said about her writing process.

Photo Album

By Jade Bowie

There she is, nose smushed against the window pane,
fingers tapping on the glass, watching Daddy cut the grass.
Bare-cheeked, waddling across the freshly mown lawn,
giggling with glee under the sprinkler’s soft stream.

There they go, screaming, peddling along the canal,
steady, balanced and, training wheels left in my hand.
An afternoon on the Circle Route, soaking in the sun,
sandwiches, a fruit buffet; this, this is our family day.

Summers at Nickel Beach, water wings bobbing in the lake,
shaking sand out of our hair; there’s another beach over there
where your grandfather helped build The Comet coaster.
Dinner is fresh fish and chips, eaten while we watch the ships.

The best part about being a kid: fruit juice dripping
daily down his chin, life’s sweet stains left on his skin.
The next best thing: tumbling out of the car, there we are,
squatting in the breeze, in a row, picking strawberries.

Oh, and look, look at the preserves, at the canned jams,
stocked storage room shelves, everything made by ourselves.
Curled up with a glass of Riesling by the hearth,
off to bed they go, waiting to see deer prints in the snow.

After they’ve grown up, we are left alone at home with
an album full of memories, passions and ambiguities.
A record of heritage, a culture, love: reminiscing
on the past while the world moves forward fast.

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One comment on “International Affairs assistant pens prize-winning poem”

  1. Tom Scapillato says:

    A lovely poem, Jade!