Read a poem from Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Heft by Doyali Islam

The $65,000 prize is one of the richest poetry prizes in the world. The winner will be announced on May 19, 2020.
This is the second poetry collection by Toronto-based poet Doyali Islam. (Arden Wray, Penguin Random House Canada)

Heft by Doyali Islam is a finalist for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

The award annually gives out two $65,000 prizes — one to a book of Canadian poetry and one to an international book of poetry — making it one of the world's richest prizes of its kind.

The other finalists are Magnetic Equator by Kaie Kellough and  How She Read by Chantal Gibson.

The winner will be announced on May 19, 2020.

The poems in Islam's Heft look at the nature of illness, pain and sexuality. The poetry collection casts its lens on normal female sexual experience and the notion of home in light of chronic pain and suspected autoimmune illness on a personal level.

Islam is an award-winning poet and author based in Toronto. Heft is her second collection of poems.

Read an excerpt from Heft below.


                                             visit to a thrift shop

i can't remember which london corner
but i remember the brown corduroy
making something of my legs as she searched.
not purses, but knits. ...outside, winter streets
holding shuffling figures close for passing warmth.
in a mirror a face not quite hers sees
her, searching too. when will you return? she

turns, once again leaving, left. knows she is
already forgetting the charge of her
mother's eyes, their colour like karkade
steeped in evenings. what this language would call
hibiscus. she sleeps between fits and wakes
to the tv on the wall's other side.
she knows it muffles grief, and points to it.

From heft by Doyali Islam ©2019. Published by McClelland & Stewart.


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