CBC Literary Prizes

On the Imminent Destruction of Portage Place Mall by Chimwemwe Undi

Chimwemwe Undi has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for On the Imminent Destruction of Portage Place Mall.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Chimwemwe Undi is a writer from Winnipeg. (Winnipeg Free Press/Submitted by Chimwemwe Undi)

Chimwemwe Undi has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for On the Imminent Destruction of Portage Place Mall.

The winner of the 2020 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. 5 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 12.

About Chimwemwe Undi

Chimwemwe Undi is a former poet-in-classrooms with Poetry in Voice, an alumnus of the Banff Centre's Emerging Writers Intensive and an editor at CV2 Magazine. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Brick, Border Crossings Magazine, Room Magazine, at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in the Winnipeg Free Press and BBC World, among others. She lives and writes on Treaty One territory in Winnipeg.

Entry in five-ish words

"Stolen city on stolen land."

The poem's source of inspiration

"The experience of living and work in downtown Winnipeg. I owe a great debt to Owen Toews' book Stolen City: Racial Capitalism and the Making of Winnipeg for shaping much of my recent writing and thinking about the place I call home."

First lines

not a bomb      but leveled                   still      unkeeling
listless   or lacking inventory               shortly, nothing

shortly, unmade                       harkening back to blondes
on VHS           stockings named          for favoured subset of flesh                
glitter rides the escalator's churn

             jingle dirges in the backlight                specter
backlight blue    geometrical                impossible
this edifice:      "the biggest thing to hit the city

            since the flood"           flood displaced            in meaning
by a bigger flood          mall displaced
in meaning by the flood of us

About the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2020 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 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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