Remarkably, two of the three Canadian Finalists for this year's Griffin Prize in poetry are graduates of our program. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Liz Howard (2012 cohort) and Soraya Peerbaye (2007 cohort) on this honour. You can find the judges' citations on their respective collections below. More on the full Griffin Shortlist can be found here.
2016 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings:
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 | 7:30 pm
Koerner Hall | The Royal Conservatory of Music
Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent by Liz Howard (M&S, 2015)
“With penetrating intelligence and playful musicality, Liz Howard’s ambitious debut collection keeps us delightfully off-balance with its mix of lyricism and experiment, allusion and invention. In her efforts ‘to dream a science that would name me,’ Howard explores a dizzying array of texts and landscapes, from Dante to Erin Mouré, from logging camps to high school dances. But for a poet so attuned to the self as ‘a fictive province,’ we are all ‘infinite citizens,’ constructed of dredged materials and fraught histories. Howard is capable of thrilling leaps of language, repurposing Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha or imagining an oddly tender childhood memory of a ‘boreal swing’ made from the carcass of a moose. These poems are filled with energy and magic, suspended between competing inheritances, at home in their hyper-modern hybridity. Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent confronts its legacies with vivid imagery and crackling language, and introduces us to a bold, original poetic voice.”
Tell: poems for a girlhood by Soraya Peerbaye (Pedlar Press, 2015)
“Harrowing and deeply empathetic, Tell: poems for a girlhood traces the events surrounding the 1997 murder of teenager Reena Virk by a group of high school classmates. Peerbaye bears brave witness to the unspeakable brutality of these events, drawing from testimonies of the convicted, the victim’s autopsy report, and a history of the landscape itself. And yet, the power of this book derives only partly from the unbearable facts of violence, hatred, and alienation. The true miracle of Tell is not merely its choice to sing of such things, but its ability to sing in such a way as to urge the reader to embrace painful sympathies. Peerbaye’s language becomes a vehicle not just for exploring what others in the world may be capable of, but also of drawing readers into excruciating proximity with our own adolescent longing, fear, shame and rage.”