We would like to extend a huge congratulations to alumna Aisha Sasha John on being named one of the three Canadian Finalists for the Griffin Prize in poetry, as selected by this year's jury: Sarah Howe (UK), Ben Lerner (USA), and Ian Williams (Canada). You can find the judges' citation on her third collection of poetry, I have to live., below. More on the full Griffin Shortlist can be found here.
2018 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings:
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | 7:30 pm
Koerner Hall | The Royal Conservatory of Music
I have to live. by Aisha Sasha John (M&S, 2017)
“Aisha Sasha John’s I have to live shows what poetry can become when stripped of prettiness and polite convention — when in survival mode. Spontaneous, its subjects unposed, its language unrehearsed, each poem has the effect of being taken with a polaroid camera. John writes poems that are resistant to overwrought aesthetics, poems that have popular appeal yet are uninhibited by audience, poems whose casual demeanour belie their fight against casualty. They wind their way into us like a chorus. They gain force by accumulation: “I do. / I did it. / I did. / I had to. / I have to. / I have to live.” As a result, one does not engage with I have to live by familiar means of dissection and analysis. One need only listen, as to an aching friend. No need to fix anything. Just listen.”