While this year may have seen more submissions than ever, the Canadian poets nominated for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize all have established reputations in this country.
Two of this year’s three Canadian nominees have previously been nominated for the prize, one of the world’s richest for English-language poetry. Toronto poet Ken Babstock received his second Griffin nod for Methodist Hatchet (House of Anansi Press), the follow-up to 2007 Griffin nominee Airstream Land Yacht.
Phil Hall, who lives in Perth, Ontario, was nominated for Kildeer (BookThug), which won the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. Hall’s collection An Oak Hunch was shortlisted for the Griffin in 2006.
The other Canadian nominee, Jan Zwicky, is also a familiar name in the poetry world. Shortlisted for her eighth collection, Forge (Gaspereau Press), the B.C.-based poet and philosopher won the 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award for her collection Songs for Relinquishing the Earth.
Zwicky is the sole woman nominated for this year’s Griffin besides Joanna Trzeciak, the U.S. translator of international nominee Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz RÃ³zewicz (W.W. Norton and Company).
The complete international shortlist is as follows:
- Night by David Harsent (Faber and Faber)
- The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyakaa (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux)
- November by Sean O’Brien (Picador)
- Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz RÃ³zewicz by Tadeusz RÃ³zewicz; Janna Trzeciak, trans. (W.W. Norton and Company)
Each of the seven finalists will be awarded $10,000 for participating in a reading to be held in Toronto on June 6. The winners, to be announced the following day at a gala, will receive $65,000.
This year’s shortlists were chosen by a three-person jury comprising U.S. poet Heather McHugh, Canadian poet David O’Meara, and U.K. poet Fiona Simpson.
According to prize founder Scott Griffin, 485 titles were submitted for this year’s prize, up 10 per cent from last year. International submissions came from 39 countries and were translated into English from 19 languages.