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Saunders On New Canadian Poems

Craig Saunders, a cherished Eyewear reviewer, has sent this post in from Canada...

Recently, the shortlist came out for the National Magazine Awards, Canada’s top prize for magazine writers. While it’s not exactly a major poetry prize ($1000 for gold, $500 for silver), the NMAs often provide an interesting look at emerging Canadian poetry.

This year, most of the writing categories were dominated by the country’s big-name magazines, with nominations led by The Walrus, L’actualite and Toronto Life. Poetry, however, continues to be dominated by small magazines and literary quarterlies. The poetry shortlist includes three works published in Victoria magazine Malahat Review and two each from Winnipeg, quarterly Prairie Fire and Montreal’s Vallum.

While some names, such as Vallum’s nominees Lorna Crozier and Jan Zwicky, will be familiar to many Canadians, most of this year’s nominees are far from household names. Last year’s winner was Aurian Heller for “Song of the Taxidermist,” published in Malahat Review.

The poetry award, along with awards in design, photography and writing categories (including fiction), will be handed out at a gala event in Toronto, June 5. The shortlisted poems are as follows:

Warren Heiti, “the uncollected works of sallie chisum,” Event

Michael Lista, “Fidelity,” Malahat Review

Sina Queyras, “Her Dreams of the Expressway,” Malahat Review

Peter Richardson, “An Equine Accessory Chews Over Options Within the Confines of a Two Story Cycle; Favour; At Carruther’s Point,” Malahat Review

Barry Dempster, “Animalia; Distant,” Prairie Fire

Sylvia Legris, “Three ‘Lore’ Poems,” Prairie Fire

Jennica Harper, “Liner Notes,” Prism International

Amy Dennis, “Seconds after You Say You'll Never Want a Child,” Queen’s Quarterly

Lorna Crozier, “Mercy; Lichen; Balance,” Vallum

Jan Zwicky, “Practising Bach,” Vallum
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