language is by Erica Hiroko Isomura
2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist
Erica Hiroko Isomura has made the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for language is.
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 Erica Hiroko Isomura
Erica Hiroko Isomura is a genre-fluid writer, multi-disciplinary artist and cultural producer from New Westminster, B.C. She is the winner of Room Magazine's 2021 Emerging Writer Award and won first prize for creative nonfiction in Briarpatch Magazine's 2019 Writing in the Margins contest. Her poetry has recently been published in carte blanche, the Maynard and Vallum. Isomura is currently at work on a collection of essays.
Entry in five-ish words
"Diasporic love letter dictionary poem."
The poem's source of inspiration
"I wrote this poem to express a complexity of longing towards language, specifically as somebody who isn't fluent in their ancestral tongue. Being fourth-generation Chinese and yonsei (四世) Japanese, I wasn't raised speaking Cantonese, Toisanese or Japanese due to cultural assimilation. For many years, I carried a sense of shame because of that.
Ultimately, this poem is inspired by food as a form of language.
"Amidst loss, I considered other ways to reclaim a sense of cultural identity, whether through experimental poetics, growing or cooking food. My Cantonese vocabulary is very basic and largely made up of food words. Ultimately, this poem is inspired by food as a form of language."
I may be unable to discern
rising or falling inflections of
gwong dong waa
and yet, faintly, I hear
the clicking of ancestral tongue
I would never live it down
if I blew 22 dollars on a seasonal
vegan pizza from a lo faan eatery
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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