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P.K. Page at age 90. (Duane Prentice/å©2006DuanePrentice)
P.K. Page at age 90. (Duane Prentice/å©2006DuanePrentice)

P.K. Page dies at age 93 Add to ...

The poet and painter P.K. (Patricia Kathleen) Page died in her home today, the Times-Colonist in Victoria is reporting on its website. She was 93.

Page was born in England but came to Canada in 1919. She won the Governor-General's Award in Poetry for The Metal and the Flower in 1954 and is a Companion of the Order of Canada.

She married Arthur Irwin in 1950; when Irwin, a journalist when they met, began a career in diplomacy, she travelled with him to numerous postings around the world, including Australia, Brazil and Mexico.

Her 2001 poem Planet Earth was read simultaneously in New York, the Antarctic and South Pacific to celebrate the UN's International Year of Dialogue Between Civilizations. Her collection of the same name was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2003.

The Griffin judges had this to say about her work: "Elegant, rigorous, fresh, P.K. Page's work sings with a voice of independent character and maenad conjecture. It is a creature that lives on its own terms and terrain. It is startling, authoritative, and anti-sentimental, able to bear cool as well as passionate gazing at our own species. Her poems are always thinking - each line is thinking, while its six senses remain impeccably alert. Her poems live by wit, wisdom, sass, suspense and a muscular lissome synapse and diction. They are daring in scope, meticulous in accomplishment, and boldly moral - with a lovely flavour of amoral verve!"

Page's most recent release, a children's book called The Sky Tree, was published in 2009.

"It might be said that children's books are really the 'essential' me," Page said in an interview when she turned 92. "My parents often read me fairy tales and fables, and I've always been keen on them."

Page was also a prolific painter whose works were influenced by her travels. Some are hanging in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada. She painted under her married name, P.K. Irwin.

"Her engagement with the world is obsessive, passionate and totally clear," Lorna Crozier, the poet and professor, said in a profile in the Times-Colonist in 2004. "It's no accident she's a visual artist as well as a writer, because to be a poet you need a finely developed sense of sight: to see what's there, what you're imagining and what that suggests might be there. She does that as well as any writer in the world,"

The Globe will be publishing a full obituary in the coming days.

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