CBC Literary Prizes

Driver's Seat & Grief Knot by Kerry Ryan

Kerry Ryan has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Driver's Seat & Grief Knot.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Kerry Ryan is a poet from Winnipeg. (Jeope Wolfe)

Kerry Ryan has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Driver's Seat & Grief Knot.

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 Kerry Ryan

Kerry Ryan has published two books of poetry, The Sleeping Life and Vs., which was a finalist for the Acorn-Plantos Award for Peoples Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies across Canada. She's currently at work on a new poetry manuscript and a novel. She lives and writes in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg poet discusses her made the longlist for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize for Driver's Seat & Grief Knot. 5:04

Entry in five-ish words

"Poems of standard-issue grief."

The poems' source of inspiration

"I write to record, distill and understand my experiences. But I also write to create.

I wanted to make something tangible and beautiful out of my dad's last days and the expressions of grief that followed.

"In these poems, I wanted to make something tangible and beautiful out of my dad's last days and the expressions of grief that followed."

First lines

Driver's seat

My father spent his last days worried
about driving arrangements, who
would take him to appointments
he'd be too sick to keep. We spent
visiting hours shunting vehicles
one side of the street to the other
because he didn't want any of us
to pay for parking.

All our lives, he never questioned
our destinations, only the routes
my sisters and I would travel. Life
lessons in Sunday morning parking
lots: signal your intention and follow
through,
get your speed up. His entire
body wincing, clawing for door handle.

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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