CBC Literary Prizes

A Social History of Tone Deafness by Rob Winger

Rob Winger has made the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for A Social History of Tone Deafness.

2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Rob Winger won the 2003 CBC Poetry Prize. (Kristal Davis)

Rob Winger has made the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for A Social History of Tone Deafness.

About Rob

Rob Winger won the 2003 CBC Poetry Prize. His poetry collection Selections from Muybridge's Horse was shortlisted for the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award. He's also the author of The Chimney Stone and Old Hat. Rob lives in the hills northeast of Toronto, where he teaches at Trent University.

Entry in five-ish words

We should all be feminists

The poem's source of inspiration

"For many years, now, I've been trying to understand the best way that those — like me — who have privilege and social power might work for the rights of those without either. I try to do some of this work in the classroom by introducing young people to Adrienne Rich and Dionne Brand, to Jeanette Winterson and Margaret Atwood, to Alice Munro and Toni Morrison, to brief histories of different feminisms, to the necessity for recognizing and naming where we're coming from. I think it's important to understand that, despite all its successes and advantages, we still live in a country that has systemic racism, sexism and homophobia. In these poems, my main concern is how to speak about feminism as a straight, upwardly mobile white man. But how can I do that without repeating and reinforcing all the power imbalances that allow me, always, to be able to speak? I want to find a way to bust down the castle walls inside of which I was born and raised. Is that possible? Can we find a way to drain and fill in all the moats around us?"

First lines

Out in this valley, we've sprayed for weeds;
that's why we came here.

Sometimes an endangered honeybee
navigates the wilting daffodils,
mirroring the sun's arc
over glacial rivers.

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