CBC Literary Prizes

She sits down to write the history of rain and suddenly the wild fall into order by Pamela Porter

Pamela Porter has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for She sits down to write the history of rain and suddenly the wild fall into order.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Pamela Porter is a writer from Sidney, B.C. (Submitted by Pamela Porter)

Pamela Porter has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for She sits down to write the history of rain and suddenly the wild fall into order.

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 Pamela Porter

Pamela Porter is the author of 14 published books — 10 volumes of poetry and four books for children and young adults, including two novels in verse. Her work has earned numerous awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text for The Crazy Man, which is read in schools across Canada, and the Raymond Souster and Pat Lowther Award shortlists. Porter was previously shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2013, and in 2019 was on the longlist for her poem Families don't exist here. She lives near Sidney, B.C. with her family and a menagerie of rescued horses, dogs and cats.

Entry in five-ish words

"Dissolving the barrier between worlds."

The poem's source of inspiration

"Poet Patrick Lane, teacher and friend, died in 2019 after a long illness. Many who studied with him in retreats and admired his work and thrived under his teaching and friendship remember him with gratitude. Some people say that when a person dies, their spirit stays on the earth plane for three days before crossing over into the spirit world, to give that person a chance to deliver messages to let loved ones know that they are okay. That intermediate time is the setting and subject of the poem."

First lines

Take a year, fill it with grief, old bones and ash.
When he died his shadow also left the earth,
and she the one he had chosen to write the letter
telling the news, to end with the word loss.
There was an urgency to the night she woke into.
There are no keys when the dead arrive
and ask one to waken, write a letter to the living.
As she reached for pen, paper, it felt as though
she were tracing her hand on stone, etching
the words indelibly, as sacrament.

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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