Books

Read poems by the 2020 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize finalists

The $65,000 prize is one of the richest poetry prizes in the world. The winner will be announced on May 19, 2020.

The winner will be announced on May 19, 2020

Doyali Islam, Chantal Gibson, Kaie Kellough are the Canadian finalists for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize. (Arden Wray, Chantal Gibson, Kaie Kellough)

Poets Chantal Gibson, Doyali Islam and Kaie Kellough are the Canadian finalists 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 Canadian shortlist is comprised of Gibson's How She Read, Islam's Heft and Kellough's Magnetic Equator.

The winner will be announced on May 19, 2020.

Get to know the Canadian finalists and read excerpts from their work below.

How She Read by Chantal Gibson

Chantal Gibson is the author of How She Read. (Caitlin Press, Chantal Gibson)

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.

Gibson is an artist, poet and educator who currently teaches at Simon Fraser University. CBC Books named Gibson a black Canadian writer to watch in 2019How She Read is her first poetry collection.

Heft by Doyali Islam

This is the second poetry collection by Toronto-based poet Doyali Islam. (Arden Wray, Penguin Random House Canada)

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.

Magnetic Equator by Kaie Kellough

Kaie Kellough is a Montreal writer, performer and 'general word-sound systemizer.' (Kaie Kellough, McClelland & Stewart)

Kellough plays with geography and self-determination in Magnetic Equator, his third poetry collection. Drifting between South and North America, Kellough digs into the ancestral belonging, exploring the Canadian Prairie, Georgetown, the Amazon rainforest and the Atlantic Ocean. It looks at the nature of language and dialect in the works of Caribbean and Canadian writers, seeking origin, identity and understanding.

Kellough is a writer based in Montreal. His novel Accordéon was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award in 2017.

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