Meet the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize readers
Every year, CBC Books enlists the help of established writers and editors from across Canada to read the thousands of entries submitted to our prizes.
Our readers compile the longlist, which is given to the jury. The jury then selects the shortlist and the eventual winner from the longlisted selections. Below, you can meet the 12 readers who compiled the longlist for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize.
The 2020 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist will be announced on Nov. 5 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 12.
The winner of the CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their work published on CBC Books. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have their work published on CBC Books.
Allan Cooper has published 18 collections of poetry, including Gabriel's Wing, Everything We've Loved Comes Back to Find Us and Waiting for the Small Ship of Desire. He has twice won the Alfred G. Bailey Award for poetry and received the Fiddlehead Poetry Book Prize at the New Brunswick Book Awards in 2018. He is the founder of Owl's Head Press and has been the editor of the intermittently published literary journal Germination since 1982. Cooper is also a songwriter and performer. His recent musical projects include Rosedale and Songs for a Broken World. He divides his time between his ancestral home in Alma, N.B., and Riverview.
Luca Crawford's poetry collection Belated Bris of the Brainsick won the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award at the 2020 Atlantic Book Awards. Crawford's writing, which combines queer, trans and disabled vernaculars with maritime histories, has appeared in publications such as The Antigonish Review, Prairie Fire, PRISM International, The New Quarterly and The Walrus. Crawford is also the author of the poetry collections Sideshow Concessions and The High Line Scavenger Hunt. Crawford is an associate professor of English at the University of New Brunswick.
Mathew Henderson is a poet from Tracadie, P.E.I. He has had poems published in The Walrus, Brick, Maisonneuve and Best Canadian Poetry. His first book of poetry, The Lease, was nominated for Trillium Book Award for poetry and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. His latest book, Roguelike, was published in spring 2020.
Catherine Hunter is a writer who teaches at the University of Winnipeg. Her poetry collection St. Boniface Elegies was shortlisted for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry and won the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry at the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. Her earlier poetry collection Latent Heat won the 1997 McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year Award and the novel After Light was recently named one of the ten best Manitoba books of the decade by the Winnipeg Free Press.
Jane Ledwell is a poet, writer and editor in Charlottetown. A recipient of P.E.I.'s Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Arts, she has published three books of poetry, Last Tomato, Bird Calls: The Island Responds and Return of the Wild Goose and has contributed to numerous other books and collaborative art projects. Ledwell currently serves as executive director of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
Ian LeTourneau is the author of two chapbooks, Defining Range and Core Sample and the full-length collection Terminal Moraine. He served a three-year term as Fredericton's cultural laureate from 2016 to 2018. He lives in Fredericton with his wife, son and dog.
David Ly is a poet who lives in Vancouver. His poetry has appeared in publications like The Puritan, PRISM international and The Temz Review. In 2018 he published the chapbook, Stubble Burn, and his poetry collection, Mythical Man, was published in spring 2020. He is the poetry editor of This Magazine and sits on the editorial collective of Anstruther Press. CBC Books named David Ly a writer to watch in 2020.
Jennifer Alicia Murrin
Jennifer Alicia is a queer, mixed (Mi'kmaw/settler) storyteller originally from Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), now residing in Toronto. She is a two-time national poetry slam champion with the Toronto Poetry Slam team and member of Seeds & Stardust, an Indigenous women's poetry collective.
Catherine Owen was raised in Vancouver and now lives in Edmonton. She has published 15 collections of poetry and prose. Her most recent books are the poetry collection Riven and Locations of Grief: an emotional geography, a memoir anthology featuring 24 Canadian writers, which was published in spring 2020.
Cecily Nicholson works with the Surrey Art Gallery and is a member of the joint effort prison abolitionist group. She is the author of Triage, which considers her work in service industries. Her second work, From the Poplars, won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and her most recent book, Wayside Sang, won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. She is based in Burnaby, B.C.
Nisha Patel is a queer spoken word poet and artist. She is the City of Edmonton's poet laureate and the Canadian Individual Slam Champion, and has been performing for five years. She has published the chapbooks, Limited Success, Water, Edmonton Girl and I See You and her first full-length collection will be published in 2021. Patel has led workshops and performed across the world over the course of four national and international tours. She is committed to the pursuit of excellence in spoken word.
Jason "Blackbird" Selman is a Montreal born poet, trumpet player and community worker. He is the author The Freedom I Stole, Africa As A Dream That Travels Through My Heart and co-editor of the poetry anthology Talking Book which chronicles the writings of Kalm Unity Vibe Collective, of which he is a founding member. He has done extensive poetry workshops across the Montreal area in schools and community groups. His work is grounded in the themes of ethno-musicology, surrealist expression, love and the intersection of masculinity and emotional vulnerability.