Every year the Pat Lowther Memorial Award is presented for the best book by a female poet in Canada.

Lowther's influence and her murder by her second husband is the focus for her daughter Christine Lowther's first poetry collection, New Power (1999) and the subject for Keith Harrison's "non-fiction novel"; Furry Creek (1999). Toby Brooks of Ottawa published Pat Lowther's Continent: Her Life and Work (2000). In her biography, The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther (2005), Pat Wiesenthal points out that, right before Pat Lowther's murder, "the former high school drop-out from the hinterlands of North Vancouver was hectically busy heading a national literary organization, The League of Canadian Poets, and teaching creative writing at the University of British Columbia."

QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

In medieval times, villages banished independent women who knew too much, or those who enacted their own sexual destinies. Sometimes these women were burned as witches. In our global village, they are still often beaten and raped. Or husbands kill them. Nary a week goes by when some ghastly story about violence against women is not in the news. The germ of violence against women is so deeply imbedded in the male psyche that the only medicine society can prescribe seems to be widespread denial. But this is not true with poet Pat Lowther, who was murdered by her husband with a hammer in 1975. People are still asking and talking about her.

Pat Lowther was born Patricia Louise Tinmuth in 1935. She grew up in North Vancouver in a working class environment and left school at 16. At 18 she married Bill Domphousse, a fellow worker at the North Vancouver Shipbuilding Company. They had two children and subsequently divorced. In 1963, she married Roy Armstrong Lowther, a public school teacher, an aspiring writer and a left-wing political activist. He was eventually dismissed from his teaching job due to his radical politics. Encouraged by other writers such as Pat Lane and Dorothy Livesay, Pat Lowther published her first collection of poems in 1968. Six years and two more books later, she was teaching at UBC and had been elected co-chair of the Canadian League of Poets. One prominent critic declared, "She was on the edge of whatever fame and success Canadian poetry had to offer.";

On October 15, 1975, Pat Lowther's body was discovered five kilometres south of Britannia Beach at Furry Creek, badly decomposed. Police discovered 117 bloodspots on the walls of Pat and Roy Lowther's bedroom. Crown prosecutor John Hall argued that Roy Lowther, also a poet, was jealous of his wife's success and angered by an extra-marital liaison. He killed her with blows from a hammer. The hammer in question and the couple's mattress were taken by Roy Lowther to Mayne Island, where the mattress had been washed on both sides. Reddish stains remained. He suggested they could be menstrual blood. Roy Lowther was convicted of the crime.

FULL ENTRY:

In medieval times, villages banished independent women who knew too much, women who didn't need men or women who enacted their own sexual destinies. Sometimes these women were burned as witches. In our global village, we beat them up. Or rape them. Or husbands kill them. Nary a week goes by when some ghastly story about violence against women isn't in the news. So many prostitutes are murdered in our cities each year that their disappearances are barely reported. The germ of violence against women is so deeply imbedded in the male psyche that the only medicine society can prescribe seems to be widespread denial. That's why the murder of poet Pat Lowther is so significant. She was killed with a hammer in 1975 and people are still asking about her. She doesn't go away. Every year the Pat Lowther Prize is awarded for the best book by a female poet in Canada.

Pat Lowther was born Patricia Louise Tinmuth in 1935. She grew up in North Vancouver in a working class environment and left school at 16. At 18 she married Bill Domphousse, a fellow worker at the North Vancouver Shipbuilding Company. They had two children and were divorced. In 1963 she married Roy Armstrong Lowther, a public school teacher, an aspiring writer and a left-wing political activist. He was eventually dismissed due to his radical politics. Encouraged by other writers such as Pat Lane and Dorothy Livesay, Pat Lowther published her first collection of poems in 1968. Six years and two more books later, she was teaching at UBC and had been elected co-chair of the Canadian League of Poets. One prominent critic declared, "she was on the edge of whatever fame and success Canadian poetry had to offer.";

On October 15, 1975, the badly decomposed body of Pat Lowther's was found on the beach at Furry Creek, just off the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Police discovered 117 bloodspots on the walls of the couple's bedroom. Crown prosecutor John Hall successfully argued that Roy Lowther, also a poet, was jealous of his wife's success and angered by an extra-marital liaison. He killed her with blows from a hammer. The hammer in question and the couple's mattress were taken by Roy Lowther to Mayne Island, where the mattress had been washed on both sides. Reddish stains remained. He suggested they could be menstrual blood. Roy Lowther was convicted of the crime.

Oxford University Press published a posthumous collection, A Stone Diary, in 1977. A collection of Pat Lowther's poetry appeared as an issue of West Coast Review in 1980, edited by Dona Sturmanis and Fred Candelaria. In 1997, Polestar Press issued a collection of her posthumous poems, Time Capsule. Pat Lowther's life and death is also the focus for her daughter Christine Lowther's first poetry collection, New Power (Broken Jaw $12.95) and the subject for Keith Harrison's Furry Creek: A True-Life Novel (Oolichan $17.95). Lowther's daughter Beth has been working on Pat Lowther's memoirs and several biographies have long been in the works. [See Keith Harrison] Toby Brooks of Ottawa published Pat Lowther's Continent: Her Life and Work (Toronto: gynergy books c/o Balmur Publishing, 2000). In 2005, Christine Wiesenthal published The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther (UTP), a combination of biographical information and literary analysis. [See Joan Givner review below for more biographical details]

bill bissett co-published Pat Lowther's first book, This Difficult Flowring (1968). Allan Safarik published her The Age of the Bird (1972).

Before Pat Lowther became a much-lauded poet, she used to enjoy bringing her family to Prospect Point. Prospect Point is where her ashes were released.

BOOKS:

This Difficult Flowring (Very Stone House, 1968). Illustrated by S. Slutsky,
The Age of the Bird (Blackfish Press, 1972).
Milk Stone (Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1974).
A Stone Diary (Oxford, 1977).
Final Instructions (West Coast Review XV/2 and Orca Sound, 1980). Edited and with an introduction by Dona Sturmanis & Fred Candelaria.
Time Capsule (Polestar, 1997).

BROADSIDE

A Water Clock. Printed by Morriss Printing on the occasion of a reading for The Pat Lowther Benefit Endowment Fund, held in Vancouver on April 25, 1985 by The League of Canadian Poets. 126 copies printed.

[BCBW 2015]