CBC BOOKS, CBC’s online home for literary content, together with its partners the Canada Council for the Arts and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, today announced the winner for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize.
Matthew Hollett of St. Johns, living in Montreal, has won the grand prize for his poems, Tickling the Scar. The poem was selected from 2,930 entries, which is the highest number of entries for the CBC Poetry Prize in recent years, and is available to be read at CBCBooks.ca.
As the grand-prize winner, Hollett will receive $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and his poem has been published on CBCBooks.ca. He will also receive a two-week writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
The 2020 CBC Poetry Prize jury was composed of poets Kaie Kellough, Dionne Brand and Stephen Collis, who said:
“Tickling the Scar’s lines turn from intimate witness to distant reportage and culminate in a chilling statement about the present moment. Walking the Lachine Canal, the poem’s central I dissolves into an anonymous masked figure, the poem returning to the image of a lung, seen in the form of a lake and of a splayed mussel shell. As it breathes, it explores greed and recklessness, courage and industriousness, shifting scales effortlessly from the damage being done today, to the damage already done to the natural world that surrounds us. This is a poem without a false step, gliding smoothly between the topical and timeless.”
Matthew Hollett said, “I’m heartened and humbled that my poem was chosen by the jury. It was hard to write about the pandemic, and I find my poem difficult to read now, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb. Those early days back in the spring felt so strange, and I wanted to document that strangeness. This feels like a new kind of poem for me, so it’s very encouraging.”
CBC Books also announced Anna Quinn as the winner of the French grand prize for Mauve est un verbe pour ma gorge. More information is available at ICI.Radio-canada.ca/icionlit under “Prix du poésie.”
The four runners-up for the CBC Poetry Prize, each receiving $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, are: Selina Boan of Vancouver for Conversations with Niton, Have you ever fallen in love with a day; Hiromi Goto of Victoria for alley/bird/ally; Emily Riddle of Edmonton for Learning to Count; and Andrea Scott of Victoria for Adipose Glose.