The stars of the poetry firmament will be out tonight at the Stone Distillery for the awarding of the 10th annual Griffin Poetry Prize for excellence in Canadian and international poetry. The Griffin has become one of the most prestigious and lucrative prizes on the international poetry scene, and with the total prize money doubling this year from $100,000 to $200,000, anticipation will be running higher than ever. Torontoist’s own poetry editor Jacob McArthur Mooney has kindly weighed in with his predictions for tonight’s event.
About the Canadian shortlist Jacob has this to say: ”One never wants to assign too much sociological significance to what three people in a room will do, but it seems like time to pass the torch, yes? P.K. Page is a legend, but nobody believes this is her best book, and the nominaton alone seems like enough posthumous recognition. Passing that torch all the way to Kate Hall also seems unlikely, as no first collection has ever won, and those who’ve previously been shortlisted did so on a lot more hype and momentum than Hall’s surprising little book. So it’s Karen Solie’s year, I think.I don’t believe Pigeon is her best book, but it’s strong throughout, the best among the three, and after years of calling her Canada’s best young poet, it seems like time to back that up with an award, dont ya think?”
Of the international shortlist: “I’ve only read two of these. The International Griffins are really into name worshipping, though, and the biggest one here would be Gluck’s. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin has a shot as well, but the only thing they like more than big names is Americans. Gluck by a nose.”
In other awards news, the shortlists for the Trillium Book Award, along with the nominees for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, were announced on Tuesday. The winners of the Trillium Book Award (one for English, one for French) will each receive $20,000, with their respective publishers each taking home $2,500 to promote the winning title. The Trillium Book Award for Poetry winner bags a cool ten grand, with his or her publisher receiving $2,000. On June 23 the public are invited to celebrate the Award finalists with a group authors’ reading in the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 2nd Floor, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto. On June 24, the Honourable Michael Chan will announce the winners at a Toronto luncheon. Below are the English-language nominees.
Trillium Book Award
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood (McClelland & Stewart)
Ian Brown, The Boy in the Moon (Random House Canada)
Alexandra Leggat, Animal (Anvil Press)
Anne Michaels, The Winter Vault (McClelland & Stewart)
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness (McClelland & Stewart)
Emily Schultz, Heaven Is Small (House of Anansi Press)
Cordelia Strube, Lemon (Coach House Books)
Trillium Book Award for Poetry
Susan Holbrook, Joy Is so Exhausting (Coach House Books)
Karen Solie, Pigeon (House of Anansi Press)
Matthew Tierney, The Hayflick Limit (Coach House Books)