CBC Literary Prizes

Drunk River by Kayla Czaga

Kayla Czaga has made the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Drunk River.

2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Kayla Czaga is a poet from Victoria, B.C. (Angela Prpic)

Kayla Czaga has made the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Drunk River.

About Kayla

Kayla Czaga is the author of For Your Safety Please Hold On and Dunk Tank. Her debut won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, among others. She lives in Victoria, B.C., and currently serves as the online poetry mentor for Simon Fraser University's The Writer's Studio.

Entry in five-ish words

Sexuality, adolescence, northern B.C., danger.

The poem's source of inspiration

"I grew up at the northwestern end of Highway 16 near a billboard that read 'GIRLS DON'T HITCHHIKE' and 'KILLER ON THE LOOSE.' Then, when I was in high school, the Robert Pickton case was breaking on TV. Every night my parents and I would watch news updates of it while we ate dinner. Then my dad would watch shows like Law & Order: SVU and CSI. The messages in my life surrounding my developing sexuality were (explicitly and implicitly): don't get raped, murdered or pregnant, be safe, stay inside after dark, cover up. At the same time, I was experiencing hormones and desire and the all-consuming hope of fleeing my small town on my own. In my poem, Drunk River, I try to capture that tension."

First lines

Instead of drunk driver, you wrote, drunk
river, and here you are back on the bank
of the Skeena, starring in some boy's sucky
idea of a first date: sitting silent in a truck
while a stranger weeps
through the radio

About the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have their work published on CBC Books and will have the opportunity to attend a 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.


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