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Self Portrait as Cassandra Reading the News by Kyla Jamieson

Kyla Jamieson has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Self Portrait as Cassandra Reading the News.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Kyla Jamieson is a poet living in Vancouver. (Paula Nishikawara)

Kyla Jamieson has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Self Portrait as Cassandra Reading the News.

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 Kyla Jamieson

Kyla Jamieson lives and relies on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her debut collection of poems, Body Count, was released in spring 2020, and contains poems written both before and after the disabling concussion she experienced at age 26. She is working on an audiovisual suite of poems, Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind, which will be released in late 2020, and is dreaming of writing essays.

She was on the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist with her poem If You Are Silent.

Entry in five-ish words

"Crip time meets pandemic time."

The poem's source of inspiration

"This poem is about how disorienting it was to see sweeping changes implemented in the spring, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, that disabled people have been denied for decades. The title references Liz Bowen's newsletters from New York, in which she compared her disabled and intuitive friends to Greek mythology's Cassandra, whose prophecies were true but never believed.

This poem is about how disorienting it was to see sweeping changes implemented in the spring, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, that disabled people have been denied for decades.

"When we started social distancing, a lot of things that had never been possible became possible — which was incredible to witness — but only because so many (mostly healthy) people were experiencing things like social isolation that disabled and sick people had already been enduring without support or reprieve. I'm always thinking about access and who our society sees as deserving of care and inclusion — as the push to 'return to normal' continues, we need to be asking who normalcy served and who it left behind."

First lines

Vogue posts an article about a modest wedding
at home, talks to grocery store workers, disorients

me with their newfound interest in the working
class. My YouTube yoga teacher appears

unexpectedly in an email from The New Yorker.
For the first time since wartime, big media caters

to those who are housebound w/out income
& recipes celebrating canned goods are trending.

I go to sleep one night in March & wake up
to find that everyone is doing the dance

I've been teaching to the shadows
in my room. Each day the city gets dressed

in a quiet I thought I'd have to move away to hear.

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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