Author Archives: bwpowe

Review of B.W. Powe’s Recent Book Ladders Made of Water by Thomas Cooper

When you are reading LADDERS MADE OF WATER, you are immersing yourself in one of the great poetic minds of our century.   I love Powe’s writing and hope you’ll buy this book.  Both of us were students of Marshall McLuhan, and B.W’s writing about the Man of LaManitoba (McLuhan) is among the most knowledgeable, sensitive, and helpful.  Powe wrote the definitive book about the McLuhan-Frye relationship and is an important, top commentator about the poets, artists, and communication of our day.  A professor at York, BW is also a masterful teacher, so using his books in the classroom is a real plus for students.  LADDERS MADE OF WATER has my highest recommendation.

By Thomas Cooper PhD,
Emeritus Professor, Emerson College

BW Powe’s new book: Ladders Made of Water. Now available online.

Click in this image to access the Canadian site

You’ll find Included in this collection a selection of public presentations and thoughts on our spiritual and ecological crises, including reflections on Jacques Ellul, Simone Weil, Teilhard de Chardin, Marshall McLuhan and Anne Carson, lyrics for an unfinished rock opera, a dramatic homily on Harry Potter, meditations on Dune Part One, Nomadland and Eternals, poems and the parable “Manna”, a Mash-Up of Aphorisms and Fragments, and Biographical Pages on his in-process work Mysteria.

Manna By B.W. Powe

Part One

Here’s a story.
Adam is ailing.
Seth, his son, grieves.
He thought his father couldn’t die.
On his bed Adam murmurs something about paradise.
Seth vows to go and find food to heal his father.
He enters through the flames he finds on his way.
(The circle of fire isn’t far off.)
The Cherubim admit him.
They don’t know at first why they do this.
Maybe to honour a son of the original inhabitants?
Seth returns with food.
The old father touches the food and eats some of it.
Instantly he speaks a language no one knows.
It’s beautiful. The others kneel.
Eve eats some of the food and she speaks the beautiful unintelligible language.
It has music and echoes.

Adam dies.
Eve prospers.
She travels and sings the language over and over to herself.
Then to the fields, to trees, to birds, to the winds.
Then to rivers and seas, to the clouds, and to the moon and stars she sees even
during the day.

Part Two

Seth often returns to paradise.
Each time the Cherubim step aside for him.
The flames part.
He brings back more food.
Many eat it.
They continue to speak the new language.
No one has a way to decode it.
They follow the rhythms, the echoes, the rhyming words, the enigmatic sounds.
Slowly it begins to make sense, to some.
Sometimes it makes sense only to the people who murmur it.

Part Three

Seth, now old, takes others through the flames to the food.
He takes sisters, wives, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers.
They change the language when they murmur it.
It now carries scents, birth-cords.
Desperate refrains and shadowlands.

Why did the Cherubim hold back the curtains of fire for many?
Cherubim had at last understood that they know the future.
A way to preserve forever and the infinite is to speak with the traces of paradise.
The obscurities, the chants, would bring sustenance.

They knew one day the new language would be called something.
Have a special name.
The Cherubim conferred.
Try wisdom, one said.
No, try revelation, one said.

Try dreams, yet another said.
Why not pathways? another said.

Part Four

The trace of paradise, Seth’s great grandson said to other children in a circle.
Do you think we should name it?
A word that can be food too.
It could be the sound coming when we ask it to come.
It could be a sound coming even when we don’t ask it to come.
Shall we call it the past? or the present? the future? or all three in a new word?

Poetry, a girl said to the children in the circle.
Let’s call it this.
They repeated the word.


Media release announcing BW Powe as The Medium and the Light Award recipient for 2022, brought to you by The Marshall McLuhan Initiative, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Greetings McLuhan friends & colleagues:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative (MMI) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, I’m very pleased to announce that longtime prolific author, teacher, poet, Associate Professor in the Departments of Humanities and English at York University in Toronto, public intellectual and media ecology prober  BW Powe is The Medium and the Light Award recipient for 2022.  The MMI Board was impressed with receiving his nomination many times over for his impressive body of work that is, of course, very much ongoing and promises to be engaged in for generations to come, like that of McLuhan himself.  It was a distinct privilege to recognize BW in this way and we were humbled by his acceptance of the Award.

For your information, I have attached the official media release announcing that The Marshall McLuhan Initiative’s eleventh annual Medium and the Light Award that was virtually presented to BW while at his residence in Cordoba, Spain through a special Zoom meeting set up by Dr. Mike Plugh at the 23rd annual Media Ecology Association (MEA) Convention held (for the first time in-person since 2019) at  Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC) do Rio de Janeiro . The MMI is most grateful to Mike and his MEA Convention team for once again so graciously inviting The Medium and the Light Award Presentation during their opening reception.  Due to technical difficulties the presentation could not be livestreamed during the reception.  Instead, the recording was intended to be shown at a later plenary session so the ca. 100 attendees could view it.     Some 12 participants joined the Zoom meeting of the presentation for what BW called “an evening of grace”.  

Besides the media release, I have attached a portrait of BW and his youngest daughter Elena Teresa taken by his wife and her mother Maria Auxiladora, BW’s speaking notes, my introductory remarks, 3 screencaps from the presentation itself: BW, yours truly with the Award still unveiled and a group shot featuring MEA Convention host Dr. Michael Plugh,  4 photos of the 2022 award itself by artist/creator Matthew McMillan of Prairie Studio Glass in Winnipeg, an image of The Marshall McLuhan Initiative’s pebble-in-the-pond logo, and my PowerPoint presentation from 2021 for context, a total of 13 attachments. In addition, here’s a link to BW’s acceptance speech on YouTube:

Please feel free to share and publicize this good news as you see fit.  Thanks for your consideration.

Continue to be kind, remain calm and stay safe.


Howard R. Engel,
Founding Director & C.E.O.
The Marshall McLuhan Initiative
Winnipeg,  Manitoba, Canada
“I think of Western skies as one of the most beautiful things about the West and western horizons. The Westerner doesn’t have a point of view.  He has a vast panorama, he has such tremendous space around him… he has a total field of vision.” — Marshall McLuhan, in a 1970 CBC interview with Danny Finkleman & published in the collection of interviews Speaking of Winnipeg (Queenston House, Winnipeg, 1974, p.23)

“The Medium is the Message.” — Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)

Bruce and daughter
 The Medium and the Light Award recipient for 2022
Howard R. Engel
B.W. Powe

Second Award Announcement for “The Charge in the Global Village” by B.W. Powe

Good Afternoon Professor Powe:

Congratulations! You have been selected as a 2021 York University Research Award Winner for winning the Media Ecology Associations 2021 Marshall McLuhan Book Award your book The Charge in the Global Membrane.

We hope you will be able to join us virtually on April 19, 2022, 1:30-3 p.m. for a special event recognizing you, along with others who have exemplified the best of research leadership at York over the last year.  

Congratulations again and we look forward to celebrating with you.

Best regards,  

Amir Asif
Vice-President Research & Innovation
York University