Natalie Lim from Vancouver wins the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize for Arrhythmia
"As a third-generation Chinese Canadian, I often feel alienated from the 'Chinese' part of my identity. I was born and raised in Canada, just like my parents. I barely speak Chinese, and I know almost nothing about Chinese culture." Lim told CBC Books in an email. "I wrote Arrhythmia as a way of working through what it means to lose a part of yourself — or to never have known that part in the first place."
"Arrhythmia is a haunting lyric tribute to the love that endures across borders, time and loss of language," the jury, which was composed of Jordan Abel, Kai Cheng Thom and Ruth B., said in a statement. "With deft precision and arresting emotional depth, Arrhythmia is both grand and intimate in scope, evoking at once the stories of Chinese labourers on the Canadian Pacific Railway and the complex relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter who do not speak the same tongue.
"Lovely, mournful, and hopeful all at once, Arrhythmia is a poem that does honour to all the ancestors who dreamed that their children might find a better life in the land the elders once called Golden Mountain."
Lim's entry was chosen from more than 2,500 English-language submissions.
The jury selected the finalists and the winner from a longlist of 31 poems. The longlist was selected by a team of readers made up of writers and editors across Canada.
The other finalists for the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize were Sanita Fejzić for (M)other, Neil Griffin for Canadian Immigration Services Citizenship Exam, Julie Mannell for Phone Sex with a One Time Lover on the West Coast and Bola Opaleke for The Autobiography of Water. The finalists each received $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and had their poems published on CBC Books.
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