TORONTO – Canisia Lubrin was named Canada’s winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize this year.
The Whitby, Ont., Writer received an honor of $ 65,000 at a virtual ceremony Wednesday for “The Dyzgraphxst,” by McClelland & Stewart.
In their quote, jurors hailed Lubrin’s second collection as “a spectacular architectural feat called a poem”.
Structured in seven acts, “The Dyzgraphxst” uses different iterations of the “I” to deconstruct selfhood as it exists in relation to modern conceptions of individualism, colonialism and meritocracy.
The international prize, also worth $ 65,000, was awarded to Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort for “Music for the Dead and the Risen” by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The Griffon is presented as the biggest prize in the world for a first edition of a single collection of poetry written or translated into English.
Lubrin’s victory strengthened his status as a powerful voice in Canadian poetry.
Earlier this year, Lubrin was selected as one of eight winners of the Windham-Campbell Prize, which is administered by Yale University, and provides US $ 165,000 to each recipient to focus on their work “regardless of financial concerns â.
She also became editor of poetry for McClelland & Stewart in April, with the tasks of acquiring and editing five books each year.
Lubrin emerged as a word master to watch with his 2017 debut poetry book, âVoodoo Hypothesis,â a subversion of the imperial construction of âBlacknessâ expressed through a complex mix of Caribbean Creole, English patois and language. baroque.
âThe Dyzgraphxstâ toured the awards circuit, earning shortlist spots for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and the Trillium Literary Award for Poetry.
The title also won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, an annual award for literary books by Caribbean writers, and was chosen as one of the best books of 2020 in a contributors edition of the Paris Review.
Writer, critic, editor and teacher, Lubrin was born and raised in Saint Lucia and holds degrees from York University and the University of Guelph.
She teaches creative writing at OCAD University and poetry at the University of Toronto. She has held writing residencies at Queen’s University and Poetry in Voice, an organization that aims to bring poetry into high school classrooms.
The other Canadian nominees on Griffin’s shortlist this year were Joseph Dandurand for âThe East Side of It Allâ and Yusuf Saadi for âPluviophile,â both published by Nightwood Editions.
The international finalists were: Los Angeles poet Victoria Chang for Copper Canyon Press ‘Obit’; Indo-American writer Srikanth Reddy for Wave Books’ Underworld Lit; and Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi for their translation of the Chinese work of poet Yi Lei “My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree”, from Graywolf Press.
Each finalist received $ 10,000.
Organizers said judges Ilya Kaminsky from Ukraine, Ales Steger from Slovenia and Toronto-based Souvankham Thammavongsa each read 682 poetry books from 14 countries to select the 2021 shortlist.
The Griffin Trust was founded in 2000 by Scott Griffin, with directors Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young.
Last year’s Canadian winner was Kaie Kellough for “Magnetic Equator”.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 23, 2021.