CBC Literary Prizes

Where, Eh? by Veronica Gaylie

Veronica Gaylie has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Where, Eh?

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Veronica Gaylie is a poet, writer and educator from Vancouver. (Jane Mbui)

Veronica Gaylie has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Where, Eh?

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 Veronica Gaylie

Veronica Gaylie is a poet, writer and educator from Vancouver. Her first book of poetry, Sword Dance, was published in 2015 and is a long poem about her mother's immigration to Canada. Gaylie has placed poems on buses in rural Canada and worked with taxi associations to organize poetry contests for cab drivers. She continues to write about long journeys and real people, more recently in her work in Kenya, where she teaches children in primary schools.

Entry in five-ish words

"Wise bird finds higher power."

The poem's source of inspiration

"The writing is inspired by my travels and work teaching children in Kenya.

The writing is inspired by my travels and work teaching children in Kenya.

"An image that stays with me is every morning I saw children run down the road with Jeri cans to collect water from a pond. The pond is usually drying out, and they have to walk a long distance. They always returned with full cans, laughing. It is a memory that keeps me returning to Kenya and inspires me to write about it."

First lines

1. Lilac Breasted Roller

The sky is the same blue as the under wings of the Unofficial Bird
of Western Kenya, perched on a wire out of sight above the gates
of the power company, a prison in the uprising –

that was bad, says the uncle, in the dress shirt, once a farmer,
now a preacher. Engineers from far away built the dam
that dried the river the farmland where chickens peck
the ground at the grandmothers ankles:
the last of her kind, rises at five; sunrise, she says,
is further proof of God's existence.

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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