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P.K. Page’s ‘tropical hunger’

The Story

Twenty years after she left it, Brazil still looms large in the consciousness of poet and painter P.K. Page. For three years starting in 1957 she lived there as the wife of Canadian ambassador Arthur Irwin, learning Portuguese and becoming enraptured by the country's flora and fauna. Page, who won the Governor General's Award for poetry in 1954, still takes inspiration from Brazil, as demonstrated by the poem she reads aloud in this 1983 Morningside interview. Traveler's Poem, from her 1981 collection Evening Dance of the Grey Flies, recalls a fabulous foreign bird and the green taste of chlorophyll.

Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: Aug. 17, 1983
Guest(s): P.K. Page
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 11:44
Traveler's Poem by P.K. Page (published by Oxford University Press)

Did You know?

• Born in England in 1916, Patricia Kathleen Page and her family moved to Canada in 1919. She grew up on the prairies and worked as a scriptwriter for the National Film Board before marrying a diplomat, Arthur Irwin.

  • Page adopted the name P.K. Irwin for her paintings, some of which are in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada.

• Writing was a lifelong pursuit for Page. Her poetry collection Planet Earth was shortlisted for Canada's Griffin Prize in 2003, when she was 87.


• Page died at 93 in January 2010 in Victoria, B.C.




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