Books

Doyali Islam, Thomas King and Billy-Ray Belcourt shortlisted for 2020 League of Canadian Poets Awards

The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Pat Lowther Memorial Award and Raymond Souster Award, each worth $2,000, celebrate the best in Canadian poetry.
Doyali Islam, Thomas King and Billy-Ray Belcourt are among the finalists for the League of Canadian Poets Awards. (Arden Wray, HarperCollins Canada, Billy-Ray Belcourt)

Doyali Islam, Thomas King and Billy-Ray Belcourt are among the shortlisted writers for the 2020 League of Canadian Poets' poetry awards.

Islam, King and Belcourt are recognized for their books Heft, 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin and NDN Coping Mechanisms, respectively. 

The prizes were created by the League of Canadian Poets, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting poets and poetry in Canada. The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Pat Lowther Memorial Award and Raymond Souster Award, each worth $2,000, celebrate the best in Canadian poetry.

The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award recognizes the best debut book of poetry. The Pat Lowther Memorial Award is given to a collection of poetry by a Canadian woman, while the Raymond Souster Award recognizes the best book of poetry overall published by a member of the League.

Islam's collection entitled Heft is shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. The poems look at the nature of illness, pain and sexuality. The poetry collection casts its lens on normal female sexual experience and the notion of home in light of chronic pain and suspected autoimmune illness on a personal level.

Belcourt's NDN Coping Mechanisms is contending for the Raymond Souster Award.

The collection uses poetry, prose and textual art to explore how Indigenous and queer communities and identities are left out of mainstream media. The work is made up of two parts — one explores everyday life and the other explores influential texts such as Treaty 8.

King's first poetry collection, 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin, is recognized for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. The celebrated Canadian author, who has written mysteries, memoirs and novels, wrote 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin to celebrate turning 77 years old.

Alessandra Naccarato, the winner of the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize, is also nominated for both the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for her collection Re-Origin of Species.

Re-Origin of Species features the winning poem, Postcards for my Sister. The 2020 CBC Poetry Prize is currently open for submissions.

The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award was created in 1981. This year's jury features Anna Yin, Ben Ladouceur and Robin Richardson.

The winners will be announced on May 11, 2020. You can see the full shortlists below.

The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award shortlist

The Pat Lowther Memorial Award shortlist

The Raymond Souster Award shortlist

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