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Patrick James Errington wins John Pollard International Poetry Prize

Patrick James Errington holds his 2024 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize-winning book, the swailing, in Trinity College Dublin on April 11, 2024. (Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX)

Canadian poet Patrick James Errington has been named the winner of the John Pollard International Poetry Prize.

The  €10,000 (roughly $14,700) annual prize is in its sixth year, and is granted to an outstanding debut collection of poetry. Sponsored by the John Pollard Foundation, the prize is administered by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin.

Errington is a poet, translator, literary critic, and academic from Alberta. He lives in Scotland where he teaches at the University of Edinburgh. In 2022, he was named the poetry winner of the Writers’ Trust Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.

Errington won the John Pollard International Poetry Prize for the swailing (McGill-Queens University Press). Errington was to receive the prize at an award ceremony in Dublin on April 11.

“I really have no words to describe the thrill of finding my little book alongside the previous winners of the John Pollard International Poetry Prize and amongst those daring, electrifying and luminous works on this year’s shortlist,” Errington said in a press release. “It took me the best part of ten years to find the words for the swailing – give me another ten and maybe – maybe – I’ll be able to articulate what an honour this is to me.”

Jury chair and Trinity professor Eoin McNamee called Errington’s poetry “work of remarkable virtuosity.”

“You fall through the zig-zagging synapses of the work, the spiralling fractals. You fall past Canadian skies full of an unspeakable history of snow, the ice fields of family and illness, past Einstein and the Tao, promises kept and broken, cancer, the forensics of the self,” McNamee said in a press release.