Alumni Liz Howard has been named the Canadian winner of the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize for her spectacular debut collection of poetry, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent. We congratulate her on this remarkable achievement, and also celebrate fellow alumni and shortlisted poet Soraya Peerbaye. These women contribute fierce, necessary voices to the Canadian and international landscape; we are so proud to count them as part of the Guelph MFA community.
The Quotations of Bone by Norman Dubie was awarded the international prize and each winner received $65,000 in prize money.
The awards ceremony, attended by some 325 invited guests, was held in the Fermenting Cellar in The Distillery Historic District. Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, and trustees Mark Doty, Carolyn Forché, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson, Karen Solie and David Young hosted the event where the guests enjoyed readings by Adam Zagajewski, The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry's 2016 Lifetime Recognition Award recipient, and a recitation of "I am the People, the Mob" by Carl Sandburg, by the 2016 Bilingual Champion of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie, Marie Foolchand.
The judges for the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize are Alice Oswald (UK), Tracy K. Smith (US) and Adam Sol (Canada). These distinguished writers and poets each read 633 books of poetry, received from 43 countries around the globe, including 25 translations. The trustees of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry select the judges annually.
The 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist features four International and three Canadian poetry collections:
- Norman Dubie's The Quotations of Bone, published by Copper Canyon Press
- Joy Harjo's Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, published by W. W. Norton & Company
- Don Paterson's 40 Sonnets, published by Faber and Faber
- Rowan Ricardo Phillips' Heaven, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Per Brask's and Patrick Friesen's translation from the Danish of Frayed Opus for Strings & Wind Instruments by Ulrikka S. Gernes, published by Brick Books
- Liz Howard's Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, published by McClelland & Stewart
- Soraya Peerbaye's Tell: poems for a girlhood, published by Pedlar Press
On June 1 the poets read excerpts from their books at the Shortlist Readings for 1,000 people in Toronto in Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. Trustee Robin Robertson presented each poet with a leather-bound edition of their book and a $10,000 honorarium for their participation in the Readings.
The Griffin Poetry Prize was founded in 2000 to serve and encourage excellence in poetry. The prize is for first edition books of poetry written in, or translated into, English and submitted from anywhere in the world.