How to write at the end of the world by Erin Noteboom
2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist
Erin Noteboom has made the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for How to write at the end of the world.
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 Erin Noteboom
Erin Noteboom is a physicist turned poet and children's novelist. She recently finished a collection of poems about science and scientists, a knife so sharp its edge cannot be seen, forthcoming from Brick Books. Her secret identity is Erin Bow, writer of children's fiction. Her work includes the modern classic Plain Kate and the Governor General Literary Award-winning Stand on the Sky. She lives in Kitchener Ont., works for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and writes out of her garden shed.
Entry in five-ish words
"Love, loss, light: a list"
The poem's source of inspiration
"I normally write for the page, not the stage, but I wrote How to write at the end of the world specifically to perform at Home Truths, an International Women's Day event at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener, Ont., where I live.
I wrote this poem out of that sense of fear, looking forward, loss, family and resilience.
"I wrote it in part on a long airplane flight home from visiting my father, whose health is uncertain and who lives far away. I felt weightless in the air, suspended, dislocated. There was some fear in me because I'm not sure I will see my father again, and in all of us because this was the last moment before air travel shut down due to the coronavirus. I knew in a few days I would be reading alongside refugees. I wrote this poem out of that sense of fear, looking forward, loss, family and resilience."
Gather what you need. A pen. A pencil. In a pinch
your fingernails If necessary, you can write on water
even as it's rising. Write the things you love.
Snail shells: their galaxy spiral, their soft colours softer inside.
You too must build a home from your own body,
light and strong. You too must make your inner self
all feet. Learn to grip with your toes,
to taste with them ― petal, pebble, road.
Write other shells. Fresh pencil shavings. Beloved
coffee cups and gardens. Spice jars and four kinds of salt.
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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