CBC Literary Prizes

Families don't exist here by Pamela Porter

Pamela Porter has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Families don't exist here.  

2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Pamela Porter is a U.S.-born Canadian author based in North Saanich, B.C. (Bowlin Photo)

Pamela Porter has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Families don't exist here.

The winner of the 2019 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 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. 14, 2019. The winner will be announced on Nov. 21, 2019.

About Pamela

Pamela Porter is the author of 14 published books — 10 volumes of poetry and four books for children and young adults, including two novels in verse. Her work has earned more than a dozen provincial, national and international awards. Her novel The Crazy Man won the the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text and was shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Both The Crazy Man and her 2011 novel, I'll Be Watching, are required reading in schools and colleges across Canada and the U.S. She was previously shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2013. Pamela lives near Sidney, B.C., with her family and a menagerie of rescued horses, dogs and cats.

Entry in five-ish words

The injustice of children in detention.

The poem's source of inspiration

"I had read that there were more than 10,000 migrant children living in detention camps in the U.S."

First lines

It is the room you make inside yourself, 
where the roof, canvas or otherwise, disappears, 
because it's your room and you 
                                                      are eight years old
and can make it vanish at your will.
Instead of a roof, canvas or otherwise, 
in place of the air-conditioned cold, glint 
                                                       the migrant stars 
who see everything, and the moon
who watched you each night getting here,
                                                       and clouds 
dragging their long white silences.

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