CBC Literary Prizes

Ballet for the Apocalypse by Christine Mazumdar

Christine Mazumdar has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Ballet for the Apocalypse.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist 

Christine Mazumdar is a writer, musician and choreographer living in Montreal. (Matt Stern)

Christine Mazumdar has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Ballet for the Apocalypse.

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 Christine Mazumdar

Christine Mazumdar is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. A former rhythmic gymnast and nationally certified coach, her research considers the interrelationship between sport and art, emphasizing consent and agency in athletic practice. A SSHRC doctoral fellow, she received the 2019 Routledge Prize for her paper Like Rubber: Hyperflexibility, Contortion, and the "Freak-tastic'"Body. She was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize for Reindeer at the Colloquium. A writer, musician and choreographer, Christine also holds a teaching degree with a specialization in arts education from Queen's University.

Entry in five-ish words

"Dance of pandemia: balcony re-embodiments."

The poem's source of inspiration

"The disembodiment of quarantine has reduced me to a two-dimensional state — a Brady Bunch-like box existing solely in the virtual realm. When the last of the 2020 spring snow melted in Montreal, I made the conscious effort to step out of my 2D box and engage in the practice of ballet on my balcony — years removed from training.

I made the conscious effort to step out of my 2D box and engage in the practice of ballet on my balcony — years removed from training.

"The disorienting effect of experiencing outdoor life during the COVID-19 pandemic juxtaposed with the embodied memory of daily ballet routines from my childhood highlights the contrast within my practice itself — the ease of the memory of the movements, the pain of the movements themselves."

First lines

first position: hips turned out, feet form a 180° angle, heels touch

I see him watching me eyes aghast at the sight of me

outside on my balcony for the first time in two months.

plié

Our eyes meet as I attempt to reembody

a career long over on this my 20th anniversary of retirement.

It was long ago that I was once a virtuosic being,

a fearless, spritely, dancing body.

I stare at my red hands, cut up from over-washing

and wonder how I've become what I am today.

Remember what I used to be?

passé

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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