The finalists for the Griffin Poetry Prize were announced on Tuesday, and, although several veteran and award-winning writers have been recognized for their work, for the first time since 2004 neither the Canadian nor international short lists include a poet previously nominated for the prize.
This year's Canadian finalists are Ottawa writer and filmmaker Shane Book, nominated for his second collection, Congotronic, published by House of Anansi; Vancouver poet Jane Munro, nominated for her sixth collection, Blue Sonoma, published by Brick Books, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year; and North Vancouver writer Russell Thornton for his sixth collection, The Hundred Lives, which marks the first time Quattro Books, his small Toronto publisher, has had a book nominated for the prize.
The international short list features Eleanor Goodman for her translation of Something Crosses My Mind, the first book by Chinese poet Wang Xiaoni to appear in English; Marek Kazmierski for his translation of Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance by the Polish poet Wioletta Greg; Ireland's Michael Longley for his 10th collection, The Stairwell; and the American poet and priest Spencer Reece for The Road to Emmaus, his second book of poems.
This year's jury – Canadian poet Tim Bowling, American poet Fanny Howe and Polish writer Piotr Sommer – considered approximately 560 books of poetry, including 24 books in translation, from 42 countries around the world.
The finalists will read from their work on June 3 at the Koerner Hall, while the winners of this year's Griffin Poetry Prize will be announced on June 4. All poets who read will received $10,000, while the winners receive an additional $65,000 each, making it one of the most lucrative poetry prizes in the world.
Last year's Canadian winner was Anne Carson, while the international prize went to Brenda Hillman.