CBC Literary Prizes

Cod Jigging Near Twillingate by Alexander Hollenberg

Alexander Hollenberg has made the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Cod Jigging Near Twillingate.

2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Alexander Hollenberg is a writer based in Hamilton, Ont. (Kaye Prince-Hollenberg)

Alexander Hollenberg has made the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Cog Jigging Near Twillingate.

The winner of the 2021 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. 18 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 24.

If you're interested in the CBC Literary Prizes, the CBC Nonfiction Prize opens in January and the CBC Poetry Prize opens in April.

About Alexander Hollenberg

Alexander Hollenberg is a professor of storytelling and narrative theory. His writing can be found in various journals such as English Studies in Canada, Narrative, Style and the Literary Review of Canada. In Halifax — where he fell in love with the ocean — his poem Library of Trees won the Joseph Howe Prize. He now lives in Hamilton Ont., where he can usually be found exploring the escarpment trails with his wife and their dog.

Entry in five-ish words

"Questions about love and place."

The poem's source of inspiration

"My partner and I really did go jigging for cod on our honeymoon, led by a gem of a human named Captain Dave. But we were struck in the midst of this love by just how easy it was to catch a fish with nothing more than a piece of yarn. In that sense, each of these poems explores how we are shaped by the spaces we occupy and at what point that occupation becomes an imposition.

In that sense, each of these poems explores how we are shaped by the spaces we occupy and at what point that occupation becomes an imposition.

"The memories my poems represent — of love, of fishing, of exploration, of storytelling — are tied affectionately to real, physical places, and yet each poem is anxious about the tightness of those knots. When the world becomes the background to our stories, our dramas, what violence do we commit? In Cod Jigging Near Twillingate, I allude to Michele Wolf's beautiful, pitch-perfect poem, The Great Tsunami, in which she asks, 'Can you look at one face / For the whole of a life?'

"I don't have a good answer to that. I sense, though, that living a good life means sometimes re-negotiating our foreground and paying attention to what we've missed the first time around."

First lines

on our honeymoon 
you and I learned to bait hooks
with an inch of red yarn, 

drop them deep 
through the skin 
of saltwater to where waves
and sky were unconfirmable, 
just a legend to the churning
congregations below —

About the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2021 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 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2022 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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