Skip to content

Newfoundland poet Maggie Burton is a multi-genre writer, professional violinist, and municipal politician, serving her second term as Councillor at Large for the City of St. John’s. Burton holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Memorial University and has spent much of her career working with the Suzuki Talent Education Program and the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra. She was awarded the Riddle Fence poetry prize prior to releasing her debut book of poetry, Chores (Breakwater Books, 2023), which was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and has had two poems previously receive NL Arts and Letters Awards. Prior to Chores, she has had work published in Prism, The Malahat Review, Riddle Fence, Room and elsewhere. Through her poetry, Burton explores the social and physical realities surrounding women’s domestic labour, sexuality, and relationships through a queer, feminist, working class lens. She is currently working on her debut collection of short fiction. Burton writes and lives on the Avalon where she is raising her four young children.

Chores 2024 Canadian First Book Winner

Breakwater Books, Canada

Judges’ Citation

Maggie Burton’s Chores is charming and profound, traditional and inventive.

Maggie Burton’s Chores is charming and profound, traditional and inventive. Its combination of qualities seems effortless but is not only the innate fruit of a vision but the result of skillful poetic design. The book’s detailed, intimate awareness beautifully evokes  Newfoundland and expands to our worldwide cultural moment. Burton applies a critique of how we live while embracing life with tenderness and humour. For all the fate, traditional limitation, labour, bitter recognition that chores contain, perhaps the deepest desire of Chores is to fulfill its glimpses of hope beyond mere acceptance: ‘the old harbour was chock solid with seals // and harpoons and I now believe / with all my heart the stirring is true…’

See also