CBC Literary Prizes

Nature's Culture by Kathleen Wall

Kathleen Wall has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Nature's Culture.

2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Kathleen Wall is a Regina-based writer. (Veronica Geminder)

Kathleen Wall has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Nature's Culture.

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 Kathleen

Kathleen Wall is the author of three books of poetry, Without Benefit of Words, Time's Body and Visible Cities, and one novel, Blue Duets. She is working on a second novel, Soul Weather, on a fourth book of poems, tentatively titled Aides Memoire, and a series of poems about nature and naturalists she thinks of as "amazements." These poems come from the part of that project which imagines that nature has its own culture.

Entry in five-ish words

These poems imagine nature has a culture.

The poem's source of inspiration

"The juncos in my backyard seemed to leave me messages in the snow and I imagined that all of nature could be seen more clearly if we imagined it has its own culture, which we only apprehend if we are observant."

First lines

Like today's reluctant
snow, the juncos defy
gravity. They have perfected
the physics of the unerring
vertiginous drop,
the dart of reconnaissance,
wings tight, fledged arrows slicing
between trees. They are pedants
of the upward pop when the neighbour's cat
pounces, released like woodfire sparks
or helium balloons—
ungainly similes—
my workaround for what I'll never
ken. Their voices rise
like quick glints of rumour
in hallways, or fireworks
of unworried joy.

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