Friday, April 2, 2010

It's National Poetry Month and the Shortlists are In

It's National Poetry Month, so every Friday in April I will write something about Canadian Poetry.

The shortlists for the Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther Memorial Awards were just announced, and as awards for Canadian poetry go, these are two biggies (more so because of what winning means and not because of the $1,000 you get for winning).

The Gerald Lampert Award goes to the best first book of poetry published in the given year. The shortlist:

The Certainty Dream by Kate Hall (Coach House Books)

Gun Dogs by James Langer (House of Anansi Press)

Soft Where by Marcus McCann (Chaudiere Books)

Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names by Soraya Mariam Peerbaye (Goose Lane Editions)

Inventory by Marguerite Pigeon (Anvil Press)

Something Burned Along the Southern Border by Robert Earl Stewart (Mansfield Press)

The Pat Lowther Award is given to a female poet for a collection of poetry published in the given year. The shortlist:

God of Missed Connections by Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood Editions)

Permiso by Ronna Bloom (Pedlar Press)

Expressway by Sina Queyras (Coach House Books)

Paper Radio by Damian Rogers (ECW Press, a misFit book)

Lousy Exploriers by Laisha Rosnau (Nightwood Editions)

Pigeon by Karen Solie (House of Anansi Press)

Relatively speaking, there are very few big poetry prizes given out each year, which means that the ones that are awarded are steeped in importance. But it also means that not all great poetry collections have an opportunity to shine in the public light. Canada has a long and proud history of producing very good poets, and it's a shame more people don't know that.

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