Via the Griffen Poetry Prize
Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems, translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah, written by Ghassan Zaqtan and What’s the Score? by David W. McFadden are the International and Canadian winners of the 2013 annual Griffin Poetry Prize. They each received C$65,000 in prize money.
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.
The awards ceremony, attended by some 400 invited guests, was held at Corus Quay – a new venue featuring a five-storey bio-wall and a wall of glass with doors opening onto a lakefront promenade. Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, and trustees Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje and David Young hosted the event where the guests enjoyed speeches and readings by Pura López-Colomé and Kyla Kane, first national champion (English Stream) of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie.
The Judges for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize are Suzanne Buffam (Canada), Mark Doty (USA) and Wang Ping (China). These distinguished writers and poets each read 509 books of poetry, received from 40 countries around the globe, including 15 translations. The trustees of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry select the judges annually.
The 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist features collections by four international and three Canadian poets:
• Fady Joudah’s translation from the Arabic of Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems by Ghassan Zaqtan, published by Yale University Press
• Jennifer Maiden’s Liquid Nitrogen, published by Giramondo Publishing
• Alan Shapiro’s Night of the Republic, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
• Brenda Shaughnessy’s Our Andromeda, published by Copper Canyon Press
• David W McFadden’s What’s the Score? published by Mansfield Press
• James Pollock’s Sailing to Babylon, published by Able Muse Press
• Ian Williams’ Personals, published by Freehand Books
On June 12 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 Carolyn Forché 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 Anthology: A Selection of the 2013 Shortlist, edited by Suzanne Buffam and published by House of Anansi Press, is now available at most retail bookstores. Royalties generated from the anthologies, published annually, are donated to UNESCO’s World Poetry Day.