CBC Literary Prizes

Persephone and Translation by Erina Harris

Erina Harris has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Persephone and Translation.

2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Erina Harris is a poet living in Edmonton. (Candace Evans/Wolsak & Wynn)

Erina Harris has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Persephone and Translation.

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 Erina

Erina Harris has published poetry and hybrid works internationally. Her first book of poetry, The Stag Head Spoke, was shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for poetry. She is currently editing her unorthodox second manuscript, Persephone's Abecedarium: An Alphabet Play (An Ecopoetical Adaptation of the Homeric "Hymn to Demeter"), from which these excerpts are derived. Her writing has been awarded multiple prizes and subpoenas.

Entry in five-ish words

Intersubjectivity; radical vulnerability: ecological sublime.

The poem's source of inspiration

"Reading the Persephone story as a young child: my first encounter with a literary narrative that echoed my own experience of being a daughter raised by a single mother. Then returning to it as an adult scholar to discover it is profound: a proto-feminist narrative, a meditation on intersubjectivity and ecological ethics. How does death co-constitute 'meaning'? And what do we owe futurity?"

First lines

And so, pronounce: "Phonos" –

(The lone soundling, voicer. Around her. The herd,
heard her:
"The Herder.")


"Persis" –

(Per se, is. The sip. Is the rip. Spit, the piller.
The seed-spill. The killer. The ilk.
The sister strip. Illness. The nest an age.
Agape, the lip. The lap, the page:
"Pillage.")

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