Read a poem from Griffin Poetry Prize finalist How She Read by Chantal Gibson
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 winner will be announced on May 19, 2020.
Gibson's How She Read is a collection of genre-blurring poems about the representation of black women in Canada. The Vancouver-based Gibson has East Coast roots and she brings a holistic, decolonized approach to challenging imperialist ideas by way of a close look at Canadian literature, history, art, media and pop culture.
Read an excerpt from How She Read below.
We knead our
fingers in a little egg and water to hold it together.
We need our hands to touch and turn this mixing
bowl into a talisman. Jus skin n bones, girl, you wink
an elbow into my ribs, pray there's time to make
a woman of me, but you just scratch the surface of
my adolescence. If I'd stop biting my nails, stand up
straight, we wouldn't have to fight tooth n nail to get
along. You play "Stuck on You" for the umpteenth time,
snap your fingers on the downbeat. I count (5, 6, 7,
and 8) every scratch on the vinyl, mutter something
foolish like, Wish you'd keep your hands off my stuff,
til your backhand reminds me I am your stuff, always
under your skin, eyes rolling, all sass n backtalk, til
you're itchin to skin me alive.
From How She Read by Chantal Gibson©2019. Published by Caitlin Press.