Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin has been announced the winner of the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the Joseph-S.-Stauffer Prize in literature.

It has been an amazing year for St Lucia-born, Canada-based writer, critic, professor, poet and editor Canisia Lubrin. Her debut poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn, 2017) was followed by The Dyzgraphxst (McClelland & Stewart, 2020) both of which was nominated for many prizes. The Dyzgraphxst has won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Poetry, and the Griffin Poetry Prize. The poet also found herself as one of the winners of the Windham-Campbell Prize for 2020.

The St Lucian Canadian has two more prizes to add to her resume in the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the Joseph-S.-Stauffer Prize in literature both won in the last few days.

The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry

The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry is given out annually by Arrowsmith Press, in conjunction with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and The Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. It is awarded to a full-length book of poems by a living poet who is not a US citizen published in the previous calendar year. The prize includes a $1,000 cash award, along with a reading at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in Boston, and a week-long residency at Derek Walcott’s home in either St. Lucia or in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, during the Walcott Festival. In the case of translations, the prize money is to be shared by the poet and the translator. The first winner of the prize was Julia Copus.

The joint winners for 2021, Canisia Lubrin for The Dyzgraphxst and Serhiy Zhadan for A New Orthography, were announced on July 6. They were selected by poet Major Jackson from a short list of twenty worthy finalists. The winners will split the $1,000 prize.

About Canisia Lubrin’s work, Jackson wrote,

“Gorgeously layered, ambitious in scope, The Dyzgraphxst performs a marvelous resistance to simple orthodoxies of selfhood in poetry. Lubrin reimagines the contours of genre and form, even language’s possibility for complexity, plenitude, fracture, and assemblage.”

Canisia responded to the win with the Tweet;

The Dyzgraphxst shares this year’s Derek Walcott Prize with @serhiy_zhadan’s “The New Orthography” —Thanks to @Poet_Major and Arrowsmith Press. @McClellandBooks

Joseph-S.-Stauffer Prize in literature

The Joseph S. Stauffer Prizes are awarded to emerging and mid-career (less than 15 years of practice) Canadian artists who exhibit strong artistic potential in music, visual arts and literature since 1987. The cash prizes amount up to three prizes of $5,000 each (one in each discipline).  Previous winners in literature the last half decade have been Stéfanie Clermont, Rebecca Salazar, Jean-François Sénéchal, Souvankham Thammavongsa , and Sabrina Schroeder.

The winner in literature for 2021 Canisia Lubrin was revealed on July 3. Lubrin is a poetry editor at McClelland & Stewart and completed her MFA at the University of Guelph.