CBC Literary Prizes

Migrations by Mark Wagenaar

Mark Wagenaar has made the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Migrations.

2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Mark Wagenaar won the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize. (Candid Clicker Photography)

Mark Wagenaar has made the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Migrations

About Mark

Mark Wagenaar is the author of three award-winning collections of poetry, most recently the Saltman Prize-winning Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining, which contains the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize-winning poem String Theory. A father of two and husband of poet Chelsea Wagenaar, he is an assistant professor at Valparaiso University, in Indiana.

Entry in five-ish words

Tracing the movements of people.

The poem's source of inspiration

"This poem begins with a child  — my child — moving into language, then charts the migrations of various people, animals, phenomena and, finally, the speaker's life."

First lines

Sparrow, I answer, when our two year old
points to the tea towel & asks—already
she's moved from
bird to robin, cardinal,
etc, & now sparrow, already the language
fails us. I say
sparrow & mean so much more
than little song—finchlike gleaner, doubled
achene, scrabbler, driveway dust bather,
passerine keener of the near-at-hand, even
Egyptian hieroglyph, even Christ-lesson

About the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have their work published on CBC Books and will have the opportunity to attend a 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 story published on CBC Books.

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