B.W. Powe Selected as the Winner of the Marshall McLuhan MEA Book Award 2021


Bruce William Powe, Canadian poet, novelist, essayist, philosopher, & teacher

The Media Ecology Association’s Marshall McLuhan Award is bestowed each year for the Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology, the winner selected by a panel of media ecology scholars. It is awarded at the MEA’s Annual Convention. Previous winners include Neil Postman, Douglas Rushkoff, Francis Fukuyama, Elena Lamberti, Tim Wu, Lance Strate, and Tiffany Shlain, among others.

The 2021 winner is B.W. POWE for his remarkably astute delineation of our technocentric world today, with its divisiveness, hostility, truth denial, conspiracy theories, and violence, both linguistic and physical. Street art and graffiti are the appropriate illustrations for this dystopic world in which democracy struggles to contain a rising tide of neo-fascism. Marshall Soules has selected suggestive imagery from his photographic collection of street art to depict aspects of this darkening world.

Future Shock Barcelona 2016

This unique book describes the media maelstrom of our disharmonious over-heated world today in which, despite ubiquitous connectivity, truthful online information and especially news is disputed and false counter-narratives are presented. The author, B.W. Powe has described his latest book thus:-

We´re experiencing the charge in the global membrane… By this I mean immersion in our electrified technological environment. All the puns in charge implied. Marshall McLuhan was one of the first to recognize we´re wired up, transformed, wholly inside borderless, transnational, instantaneous, entangling, speeding, here-there-everywhere-now states, in an always intensifying mutable milieu.

The global village became the global theatre: the theatre has become the global membrane. This phrase adapts what Teilhard de Chardin called “the noosphere,” the subliminal layering of externalized thought and emotions around our planet, in our era of apogees and abysses. The charge is the recognition of the second creation, the second Big Bang: the experience of technological expansion through electrification and the resulting accelerating streams and pulses of data-energy”… (for a fuller description see https://tinyurl.com/yd7y3qzt)

Antenna Head Havana 2016


B.W. Powe is widely regarded as one of the original and unclassifiable authors in Canadian writing. He is the author of A Climate Charged (1984), The Solitary Outlaw (1987), A Tremendous Canada of Light (1995), Outage (1995), Light Onwords, Light Onwards (2003), The Unsaid Passing (2005), a finalist for the ReLit Prize, These Shadows Remain (2011), and Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye, Apocalypse and Alchemy. Pico Iyer said of his work that it represents “a soaring alchemical vision”. Powe writes regularly for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. His work has also been featured in the New York Times and on CBC, CTV, CityTV and Bravo.

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Powe attended York University, where he received a BA in English. He went on to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto, where he worked with the great thinkers Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye. He got his PhD from York University in 2009, and became a tenured professor there in 2010, teaching in the department of English.


“B.W. Powe’s Membrane is quite addictive. I read the book (I should say devoured it) in two sittings only interrupted by the need to get some shut eye resuming my read upon awakening the next morning. Once you start this book it is hard to stop.” – Robert K. Logan, Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto

“This is a stunning and startling text – one that pulsates insistently in our present moment. And, if “the global membrane is a heart,” as Powe offers, then this text speaks from and to the heart. The Charge functions as an electrical pulse that aims to rouse our digitally-immersed hearts” – Anna Veprinska, author of Empathy in Contemporary Poetry after Crisis

“Powe charges us with his innate (and poetic) optimism while warning us that business as usual may exert enough pressure to rupture the membrane.  We believed that technology, trust in the electric pulse, would save us, however are we even closer to an ‘Outage’?” – Andrew Danson Danushevsky

“I love the gentle rhetorical turns, often intimately drawn, as if the reader is flowing with the wave of your own discoveries, and even more deftly and generously, invites the reader to be a kind of cultural soulmate.” – Denis Stokes, poet & teacher

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