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P. K. Page
Born November 23, 1916(1916-11-23)
Swanage, Dorset, England
Died January 14, 2010 (aged 93)
Oak Bay, British Columbia
Other names P. K. Irwin (as a painter)
Occupation poet
Spouse(s) W. Arthur Irwin (ambassador and editor, 1898-1999)
Children Patricia Morley, Sheila Irving and Neal Irwin
Relatives Michael Page
(brother, b. 1923)

Patricia Kathleen Page, CC, OBC, FRSC (November 23, 1916 — January 14, 2010),[1] commonly known as P. K. Page, was a Canadian poet. She was born in Swanage, Dorset, England and moved with her family to Canada in 1919. She spent the last years of her life in Victoria, British Columbia. P.K. Page was an author of many published books of poetry, fiction, travel diaries, essays and children's books. Her poems were translated into other languages.[2] By special resolution of the United Nations, in 2001 her poem Planet Earth was read simultaneously in New York, the Antarctic and the South Pacific to celebrate the International Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.[1]

She was also known as a visual artist, having exhibited her work at a number of venues in and out of Canada. Her works are in permanent collections of National Gallery of Canada and Art Gallery of Ontario.

The National Film Board of Canada dedicated a full 38-minute documentary to her career (Still Waters, directed by Donald Winkler).[3]


Education and married life

Page's parents moved her to Red Deer, Alberta in 1919, when she was only 3, and later to Calgary and Winnipeg.[4] Page said her parents were creative, encouraging non-conformists who loved the arts, recited poetry and read to her. She credited her early interest in poetry to the rhythms she unconsciously imbibed as a child.[5] A year in England when she was 17 opened her eyes to galleries, ballets and concerts.

In 1941 Page moved to Montreal and became associated with a group of poets called the Preview group, which included A. M. Klein and F. R. Scott. Later she became a scriptwriter at Canada's National Film Board, where she met W. Arthur Irwin, a former editor of Maclean's magazine, whom she married in 1950.[5]

Page travelled with her husband on his diplomatic postings to Australia, Brazil,Mexico and Guatemala. In Brazil and Mexico, not hearing the rhythms of spoken English, she said, "I had a long dry spell, so I started painting and keeping a journal," published as Brazilian Journal and illustrated with her own paintings.[5] Her visual art, under her married name as P. K. Irwin, is in galleries and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.[6]


In 1977 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion of the Order in 1998. B.C. Lt. Gov. Iona Campagnolo awarded her the first Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence in 2004, calling Page "a true Renaissance woman."[6]

In 2006, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.[7] She held honorary degrees from University of Victoria (1985), University of Calgary (1989), University of Guelph (1990), Simon Fraser University (1990), University of Toronto (1998), University of Winnipeg (2001), Trent University (2004) and the University of British Columbia (2005).[6]

Page was a "true Canadian literary and artistic icon," according to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.[8] "As an author, poet, teacher, scriptwriter and painter, P. K. Page was an extraordinary and varied force in promoting and developing Canadian culture. Her efforts helped to set the stage for decades of cultural growth in our nation.... It is the passion of people like Patricia that forged our country’s cultural and artistic identity."[8]

P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry

A $1,000 poetry prize is awarded annually by the Malahat Review in Page's name.[9] Its editor, Marilyn Bowering, said, "[Her] accomplishments have have been an inspiration to several generations of writers," and declared that the award, called the P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry, would formalize Page's "long association with the Malahat Review."[9]


  • The Sun and the Moon – 1944
  • The Metal and the Flower – 1954 (winner of the Governor General's Award for Poetry or Drama)
  • Cry Ararat – 1967
  • Cook's Mountains – 1967
  • The Sun and the Moon and Other Fictions – 1973
  • Evening Dance of the Grey Flies – 1981
  • Poems Selected and New – 1984
  • The Glass Air – 1985
  • Brazilian Journal – 1987 (nominated for a Governor General's Award)
  • A Flask of Sea Water – 1989
  • The Travelling Musicians – 1991
  • The Goat that Flew – 1993
  • Hologram: A Book of Glosas – 1994
  • Planet Earth – 1994 (shortlisted for the 2003 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • And Once More Saw the Stars – 2001
  • A Kind of Fiction – 2001
  • Schizophrenic
  • Hand Luggage – 2006
  • Coal and Roses – 2009
  • The Golden Lilies, Poems by PK Page – 2009

See also


  1. ^ a b Peter Scowen, P.K. Page dies at age 93. The Globe and Mail, January 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  2. ^ Polish language annual "Strumien", No. 3, by translator Anna Galon
  3. ^ Still Waters: The Poetry of P.K. Page, NFB documentary. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  4. ^ P. K. Page biography, University of Calgary. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  5. ^ a b c Grania Litwin, "At 87, P.K. Page is moving ahead",Victoria Times Colonist, 25 May 2004. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  6. ^ a b c Grania Litwin and Jim Gibson, "Writer's skill spanned the arts", Victoria Times Colonist, 15 January 2010, p. D1. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  7. ^ Royal Society of Canada, 2006 Fellows
  8. ^ a b "The Passing of P. K. Page", Premier's Statement, 14 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  9. ^ a b New Award honours renowned poet P. K. Page", Press release, University of Victoria, 16 November 2006. Retrieved 2010-001-16.

External links



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