York University Associate Professor B.W. Powe has earned a nomination for the prestigious 2022 Medium & Light Award that recognizes the universal dimensions of the life and work of renowned Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan.
The award is given annually by The Marshall McLuhan Initiative that was affiliated for its first decade (2007-17) with St Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. The University of Manitoba is Marshall McLuhan’s first post-secondary alma mater, where he earned the Gold Medal in Arts for 1933 and an MA in English literature in 1934.
Powe was nominated by Adjunct Professor at Gonzaga University Alexander Kuskis, publisher of the McLuhan Galaxy blog since 2010 – the official blog of the Marshall McLuhan Estate.
“Indeed, I can think of no one better qualified among the Marshall McLuhan community of interest at this time, because of his numerous published books, several of which directly deal with Marshall McLuhan, with whom he had studied at the University of Toronto; because of his teaching of McLuhan’s visionary commentaries on culture, technology, and media; and because of his contributions to the worldwide McLuhan community through his presentations, writings, participations in conferences, symposia, public presentations, and media appearances,” Kuskis wrote in a letter to nominate Powe. “He follows Marshall McLuhan in being an exemplary public intellectual.”
Powe has been teaching in the English Department at York University since 1995. He is a writer, poet, novelist, essayist and critic. His influential writings on Marshall McLuhan, Northrop Frye and Pierre Trudeau have been widely praised, as have his poetry and novels, including Outage and These Shadows Remain, longlisted for the ReLit Prize. His current research has been into visionary and mystical traditions. He has also been involved in literacy initiatives involving both York University and Frontier College.
Powe is a fellow of the McLuhan Centre at the University of Toronto, as well as an honorary member of the High Table at Massey College.
Kuskis goes on to note he met Powe 25 years ago when he attended a convention Powe organized at York University called “Marshall McLuhan: What If He Was Right?” He notes that by that time, he had read several of Powe’s early published books, and has followed up with every published book of his thereafter to the present day.
“B.W. deserves to be better-known, as at present he is one of the best unheralded Canadian authors in this country,” wrote Kuskis. Recognition with this award would reflect Powe’s total body of work, and not just for writing books and articles but also for his teaching, scholarly activity, McLuhan community engagement, public appearances, presentations and book readings, he said.
“I sincerely hope that this year’s Medium and the Light Award can reward him for his lifetime of hard work, commitment, and considerable achievements,” said Kuskis.
The award winner will be announced during the 23rd Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association (MEA) this summer.