Today, five writers have been shortlisted for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize. The prize, which has been awarded since 1979 and is one of the most prestigious and richest awards in the country for a single poem, receives thousands of submission each year.
This year's winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will be given the chance to attend a two-week writing residency at the elite Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The remaining finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council, and all five shortlisted writers will have their poems published on CBC Books.
The shortlist happens to lean west this year, with four of the five finalists hailing from Manitoba or farthest west, with the list rounded out by finalist Mia Anderson, who is based in Quebec.
The finalists are all established in their discipline as well, with numerous publications amongst them and several previous awards and nominations for prizes as diverse as the Amazon First Novel Award, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, and the Montreal International Poetry Prize.
The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist:
- Onion by Mia Anderson (Portneuf, Que.)
- James by Lise Gaston (Vancouver)
- Untranslatable by Adriana Oniță (Edmonton)
- The Morgue in my Tears by Bola Opaleke (Winnipeg)
- Addendum —"Flora of a Small Island in the Salish Sea" by Alison Watt (Nanaimo, B.C.)
The longlist of 31 poems was selected from almost 3,000 English-language submissions by a team of writers and editors, after which jury members Louise Bernice Halfe, Canisia Lubrin, and Steven Heighton, selected the shortlist. They will also select the eventual winner, who will be announced on November 24 and will join past winners like Sue Goyette, Don Domanski, and Lorna Crozier. Last year's winner was Montreal writer and photographer Matthew Hollett for his poem, Tickling the Scar.
You can read all the 2021 Poetry Prize English-language nominated poems and learn more about the finalists on the CBC Books website.