CBC Literary Prizes

Iceland is Melting and So Are You by Talya Rubin

Talya Rubin has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Iceland is Melting and So Are You.  

2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Talya Rubin is a writer and performance maker from Montreal. (Terry Hughes)

Talya Rubin has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Iceland is Melting and So Are You.

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 Talya

Talya Rubin is a writer and performance maker from Montreal. Her poetry has won the Bronwen Wallace Award for emerging writers and has been shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize and the Winston Collins/Descant Prize for best Canadian poem. Her work has been published in Ascent, Matrix, Hazlitt, Maclean's and Grain. Her first book of poetry, Leaving the Island, was published in 2015. She is currently working on a new book of poetry, Iceland is Melting and So Are You, due for publication in 2021. Talya holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.

Entry in five-ish words

Young people carry our feelings.

The poem's source of inspiration

"I was in Newfoundland to do a poetry reading and a professor from the university offered to take me out to dinner. She drove up with her young son, and he was in total despair about a news story they had heard on the radio while driving to pick me up, about how the glacier melts in Iceland were far more accelerated than originally estimated. It struck me to see this 11-year-old boy so shaken with grief. I had been experiencing climate change grief myself, but did not have words for it or ways of articulating those feelings.

"At the same time, it was deep winter in Newfoundland and I had just gone for a drive through a landscape of muted greys and blues and whites, along the west coast, where the cod fishing industry had collapsed due to overfishing and mismanagement of the natural world. There was a heaviness and a sadness to that too.

"And it all came together for me into this one poem, these disappearances, this bleached out frozen landscape and the precariousness of it all." 

First lines

In Corner Brook, Newfoundland the snow
falls so thick and fast it
looks like my childhood.

I stand in the strange
green porch light of the
hotel.

Listening to the silence.
That everlasting crunch
of boots on packed snow.

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