Saddiq Dzukogi’s Your Crib, My Qibla was declared the winner of the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2022 on Wednesday, October 13, 2022.
The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry is awarded 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. 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; Canisia Lubrin won it in 2021.
The prize for 2022 was judged by Carolyn Forché and the shortlist was announced on July 20 before the winner was made public on October 13. The winner this year is Your Crib, My Qibla by Saddiq Dzukogi which is part of Nebraska University’s African Poetry Series. It interrogates loss, the death of a child, and a father’s pursuit of language able to articulate grief. In these poems, the language of memory functions as a space of mourning, connecting the dead with the world of the living. Culminating in an imagined dialogue between the father and his deceased daughter in the intricate space of the family, Your Crib, My Qibla explores grief, the fleeting nature of healing, and the constant obsession of memory as a language to reach the dead.
Responding to the win Dzukogi said on social media, “Your Crib, My Qibla was just announced as the winner of the 2022 Derek Walcott Poetry Award. Selected by the wonderful poet and human, Carolyn Forché. I am still shaking in tears. I miss you dear child, your name persists, your songs persist. Even though I am tending to the wound of your absence everyday, the light you left in my heart is still here, teaching me, protecting me from my own darkness. You continue to be a gift, dear child. Thank you so much Carolyn, for seeing this work, for seeing me. The citation brought tears of joy to Bahra’s mom, Sa’adatu.
He receives 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.
The book is also in the running for the Nigerian Prize for Literature which will be announced this evening.