Last night in Toronto, American poet Norman Dubie and Canadian — and debut — poet Liz Howard were awarded the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prizes.
Dubie won the International Prize for his collection The Quotations of Bone (Copper Canyon Press), his 29th book of poetry, which has been praised for its "intense moral force".
Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent (McClelland & Stewart) is Howard's first collection. It has been called "gorgeously heretical" and was awarded the Canadian Prize.
Judges Alice Oswald, Tracy K. Smith, and Adam Sol read 633 books of poetry, received from 43 countries around the globe, including 25 translations before making their selections. Dubie and Howard each received C$65,000 in prize money.
The awards ceremony, with 300+ guests in attendance, took place the Distillery District's Fermenting Cellar. Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, and trustees Mark Doty, Carolyn Forché, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson, Karen Solie, and David Young hosted the event.
Adam Zagajewski was honoured with The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry's 2016 Lifetime Recognition Award. He performed a reading of his work at the celebration, and 2016 Bilingual Champion of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie, Marie Foolchand, recited "I am the People, the Mob" by Carl Sandburg.
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.
Be sure to check out our interview with all of the nominated poets.