CBC Literary Prizes

A pile of folded clothes by Troy Sebastian |nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓

Troy Sebastian nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓ has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for A pile of folded clothes.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Troy Sebastian |nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓ is a Ktunaxa writer living in Lekwungen territory. (Submitted by Troy Sebastian |nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓)

Troy Sebastian |nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓ has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for A pile of folded clothes.

The winner of the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on Nov. 5 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 12.

About Troy Sebastian |nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓

Troy Sebastian |nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓ is a Ktunaxa writer from ʔaq̓am. Troy is a graduate of the University of Victoria's Writing MFA program where he is a sessional instructor. His story tax niʔ pikak̓— a long time ago was longlisted for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize, the 2019 Journey Prize and was published in Best Canadian Stories 2019. His writing has been published in The Walrus, Ktuqcqakyam, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Quill & Quire and Prairie Fire. He was selected for the 2020 Writer's Trust Rising Star program.

Entry in five-ish words

"A pile of folded clothes."

The poem's source of inspiration

"My brother Kenny has been missing since June 9, 1975. I was told his clothes were found folded next to the bridge crossing the St. Mary's River. I want to know what happened to him. I want to understand what happens to me having an older brother missing my entire life. I need to have some control over the relationship with his absence.

I want to understand what happens to me having an older brother missing my entire life.

"The poem is an accounting for the brutality and violence of the St. Eugene Mission, a Roman Catholic residential school and of Canada itself.  A few years ago the RCMP asked me to provide a DNA sample for his file to match against future human remains. That was in my mind when I began to write."

First lines

A story told over seven generations. Promises known to confederation,
psalms sold by undertaker and gamblers alike, affirmations held in the
palm of the hand. Hands form a union of chapped knuckles and dusted saddles.
The mind becomes the wind, cutting down forests of forgotten promise.
March hail storms that ache upon the body.

A stolen Canadian flag from an airport on stolen Ktunaxa land.
A missing 8 track of Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell. Memoir of brother
with a gutted elk in the back of his truck. Flashback to brother searching
for Meatloaf, enraged. Decision to never trust a menu that offers meatloaf. 

About the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

The 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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