Prairie Ritual by Conor Kerr
2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist
Conor Kerr has made the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Prairie Ritual.
The winner of the 2021 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. 18 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 24.
If you're interested in the CBC Literary Prizes, the CBC Nonfiction Prize opens in January and the CBC Poetry Prize opens in April.
About Conor Kerr
Conor Kerr is a Métis and Ukrainian educator, writer and harvester. He is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and is descended from the Gladue, Ginther and Quinn families from the Lac Ste. Anne and Fort Des Prairies Métis communities and the Papaschase Cree Nation. Kerr is a harvester and labrador retriever enthusiast.
Entry in five-ish words
"Replacing Christianity with true gods."
The poem's source of inspiration
"For this series of poems, [my inspirations were] birds, bros and grannies. The way that cedar waxwings storm in for fermented berries and the movement of magpies with chicken wing bones across city structures. Thinking about the way that the land itself is a construct of spirituality that exists for Indigenous Peoples and will always continue to be so.
I wanted to counter that with memories of soft imagery of Granny's beading and pulling flower prayers through fingertips.
"Someone told me, or I read somewhere, that birds are the messengers of old gods. They carry prayers on their wings. Not to Christian gods, but the old, old, old ones. But to understand that you need to think outside of the structure of a patriarchal Jesus type figure and more into the idea that everything can be a god. Including the fermented berry that the cedar waxwing is getting drunk off of. I wanted to counter that with memories of soft imagery of Granny's beading and pulling flower prayers through fingertips. We all find gods in our own worlds."
Lord, it's me, Conor.
You know I'm about as anti-religious as it gets.
And I haven't seriously considered a Christian god since I was twelve at the inner city (native) bible camp outside of Regina.
Or the time I tried to impress a woman by knowing weird biblical facts.
You can imagine how well that went over.
About the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize
The winner of the 2021 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 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2022 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.
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