CBC Literary Prizes·CBC Poetry Prize Winner

Spell World Backwards by Bren Simmers

Bren Simmers has won the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize for her collection Spell World Backwards.

Spell World Backwards was inspired by poet's mother's experience with Alzheimer's

Bren Simmers is a writer from Prince Edward Island. (Mike Needham)

P.E.I. writer Bren Simmers has won the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize for Spell World Backwards.

She will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity and her work has been published on CBC Books.

LISTEN | Bren Simmers on winning the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize:

The 2022 CBC Poetry Prize winner spoke with Matt Rainnie about her winning poetry collection Spell World Backwards.

Simmers is the author of four books, including the wilderness memoir Pivot Point and Hastings-Sunrise, which was a finalist for the Vancouver Book Award. Her most recent collection of poetry is If, When. She was previously longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2013 for I Blame MASH For My Addiction To MLS and in 2012 for Science Lessons.

Spell World Backwards was inspired by Simmers' mother's experience with Alzheimer's, she told CBC Books.

LISTEN | Bren Simmers' interview on On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko

Today the CBC Poetry Prize winner for 2022 was announced. Bren Simmers from P.E.I. won with her book "Spell World Backwards," a collection of poems which tells the story of her mother's experience with Alzheimer's. She is the author of four books—-including the wilderness memoir Pivot Point and Hastings-Sunrise----which was a finalist for the 2015 City of Vancouver Book Award. Bren joins us on the show for more.
My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2017. As I started writing about her deterioration, I became interested in how language is affected by the disease.- Bren Simmers

"My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2017. As I started writing about her deterioration, I became interested in how language is affected by the disease," she said. 

"In this series, I try to mimic some of the looping, nonsense words and holes in her speech. As she progresses into late-stage Alzheimer's, it has become increasingly difficult to communicate with her, outside of touch. She still loves to dance though!"

LISTEN | Bren Simmers' interview on Mainstreet PEI with Matt Rainnie

Spell World Backwards is the name of a poem from PEI's Bren Simmers, inspired by her Mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's Disease. That poem is one of five that's been shortlisted nationally for the CBC Poetry Prize.

You can read Spell World Backwards below.



Read the other finalists

LISTEN | Bren Simmers' interview on As It Happens:

The 2022 CBC Poetry Prize winner readers her winning collection Spell World Backwards and discusses her writing.

About the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2022 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 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2023 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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