2018 Winners with comments by judge Miranda Pearson
Winner First Place
Book: Linger, Still
Poet: Aislinn Hunter
Publisher: Gaspereau Press
Comments from our judge: Linger,Still is a humble and quiet work, but also powerfully ambitious. Here are poems of vision and compassion, steeped in history and philosophy, always alert to their music. They ask essential questions, whilst never failing to reveal the familiar to us in new and beautiful ways.
Aislinn Hunter is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of six books, including the novel The World Before Us, which won the Ethel Wilson Prize. She lives in British Columbia.
Winner Second Place
Book: Table Manners
Poet: Catriona Wright
Publisher: Signal Editions, an imprint of Véhicule Press
Comments from our judge: Table Manners takes the material of food as a subject and metaphor to celebrate not only the oddness and sensuality of gastronomy, but to create something bright and vivid. The language is inventive, funny and brave, the handling of the line expert. As a debut collection, here is a shining new poetic voice.
Catriona Wright is the author of the poetry collection Table Manners (Véhicule Press, 2017) and the short story collection Difficult People (Nightwood Editions, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Prism International, Prairie Fire, Fiddlehead, and Lemon Hound and have been anthologized in The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry and in The Best Canadian Poetry 2015 & 2018.
Winner Third Place
Book: The Celery Forest
Poet: Catherine Graham
Publisher: Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak & Wynn
Comments from our judge: This book succeeds in creating its own world, using magic realism, fairy tales and a skilled and sure ear. We are led and follow the path of images both frightening and fabulous, until, surrounded, we’re lost. Exploring a subject that’s hard to make new, The Celery Forest is a rare and compelling achievement.
Catherine Graham is the author of five acclaimed poetry collections, including Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, which was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and the CAA Award for Poetry, while her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction. Graham is also the winner of the International Festival of Authors’ Poetry NOW competition and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto, where she has won an Excellence in Teaching Award. She also teaches at Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. Published internationally, she lives in Toronto.