Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Griffin Poetry Prize - Canadian Shortlist

The Canadian shortlist for the Griffin Poetry prize has been announced. The Griffin Poetry Trust is international in scope but also specifically recognizes Canadian poets. Its aim is to rescue poetry from "the bottom of the cultural heap" and to "promote Canadian poetry beyond our borders.

Methodist Hatchet (M)
by Ken Babstock

"The exhilarating new collection from one of our most important and talented poets, a finalist for the 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award and winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. Marooned in the shiftless, unnamed space between a map of the world and a world of false maps, these poems cling to what’s necessary from each, while attempting to sing their own bewilderment. The resultant chords of resignation, exhaltation, and despair are bracing. Carolinian forest echoes back as construction cranes in an urban skyline. Second Life returns as wildlife, as childhood. Even the poem itself — the idea of a poem — as a unit of understanding is shadowed by a great unknowing. Fearless in its language, its trajectories and frames of reference, Methodist Hatchet gazes upon the objects of its attention until they rattle and exude their auras of strangeness. It is this strangeness, this mysterious stillness, that is the big heart of Ken Babstock’s playful, fierce, intelligent book." publisher

Killdeer (M)
by Phil Hall

"These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes. These are essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue. Hall is a surruralist (rural & surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to -- Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, among others. He writes of the embarrassing process of becoming a poet, and of his push-pull relationship with the whole concept of home. His notorious 2004 chapbook essay The Bad Sequence is also included here, for a wider readership, at last. It has been revised. (It's teeth have been sharpened.) In this book, the line is the unit of composition; the reading is wide; the perspective personal: each take a give, and logic a drawback." publisher

Forge (M)
by Jan Zwicky

"This new collection from Jan Zwicky is a set of variations that employs a restricted, echoic vocabulary to explore themes of spiritual catastrophe, transformation and erotic love. Zwicky is a philosopher, musician and award-winning poet who lives on Quadra Island, British Columbia. Her most recent collection of poetry is Thirty-seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences. Her critically acclaimed books of philosophy, Lyric Philosophy and Wisdom & Metaphor, have recently been reissued in hardcover by Gaspereau Press."

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