Canisia Lubrin. Photo/Anna Keenan
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Canisia Lubrin’s poetry collection The Dyzgraphxst is on the shortlist of the Griffin Poetry Prize 2021 announced on April 14, 2021.

The Griffin Poetry Prize is the world’s largest international prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English. The Canadian-based prize was founded by businessman and philanthropist Scott Griffin in 2000. There are two geographical categories with one for a Canadian poet and one international poet who writes in the English language. Some previous winners have been Anne Carson, Nikolai Popov, and Kamau Brathwaite.

The 2021 edition of the prize is being judged by Ilya Kaminsky (Ukraine), Aleš Šteger (Slovenia), and Souvankham Thammavongsa (Canada) who each read 682 books of poetry, including 55 translations from 28 languages, submitted by 231 publishers from 14 different countries.

In the Canadian section, Canisia Lubrin’s poetry collection The Dyzgraphxst is in the running for the big bucks. Lubrin is a writer, editor, and teacher published and anthologised internationally, including translations of her work into Italian and Spanish. Lubrin’s debut poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis, was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award. Her work has been nominated for, among others, the Toronto Book Award, Journey Prize, and bpNichol Chapbook Award. 2019 Writer in Residence at Queen’s University, Lubrin holds an MFA from the University of Guelph.

Judges’ Citation:The Dyzgraphxst is Canisia Lubrin’s spectacular feat of architecture called a poem. Built with ‘I’—a single mark on the page, a voice, a blade, ‘a life-force soaring back’—and assembled over seven acts addressing language, grammar, sentence, line, stage, and world, the poet forms, invents, surprises, and sharpens life.  Generous, generating, and an abundance of rigour. A wide and widening ocean of feeling are the blueprints of this book. It is shaped to be ‘the shape of the shape / of the shape of a thing that light curves over time / length to width to depth and all of us its information.’”

Author’s comments (via Twitter).

The Dyzgraphxst, you translingual, transoceanic, transgeographic, transmorphic, unnavigable I-i—I, you never showed me this and all that. Thank you to the judges and heartfull congratulations to our companions.

The winners to be announced on Wednesday, June 23, will each be awarded $65,000. The other finalists – 3 International, and 2 Canadian, will be awarded $10,000.

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