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Arc Poetry Magazine announces the Lampman Award finalists

Each year, Arc Poetry Magazine honours Ottawa poets. Today, Arc is proud to present the three finalists for the $1,500 Archibald Lampman Award for an outstanding book of poetry by a National Capital Region author published in 2015.


The award is named in honour of Archibald Lampman (1861 – 1899), one of Canada’s finest nineteenth-century poets. Lampman moved to Ottawa in 1882, and much of his mature poetry was inspired by the National Capital Region.

The 2015 Archibald Lampman Award will be presented in conjunction with the City of Ottawa Book Awards on October 19. Eleven books were entered in the 2015 competition and Arc congratulates all the finalists and their publishers! Arc would also like to thank the 2015 judges Sachiko Murakami, Liz Howard and Shane Book.


The three finalists are:

David Groulx, Wabigoon River Poems (Neyaashiinigmiing, ON: Kegedonce Press, 2015)

A ferocious, erudite collection centred around an unflinching epic poem, breathtaking in its wide-ranging look at oppression, revolution, and survival. Wabigoon River Poems draws upon Indigenous knowledge and traditions while pushing at the boundaries of what readers might expect Indigenous poetry to be. It is masterful, urgent, and devastatingly frank, a necessary synthesis of horror in an unrelentingly defiant and resilient voice.

N.W. Lea, Understander (Ottawa: Chaudiere Books, 2015)

In this brilliant book of compact lyrics, themes of alienation and fragility meet dark humour and hope. Part Baudelaire, part Bashō, Nicholas Lea’s precisely-focused poems examine the raw edges of being. Questions, equivocations and misdirections abound, as Understander walks with nervous aplomb along the edge of the abyss, but never falls in.

Pearl Pirie, the pet radish, shrunken (Toronto: BookThug, 2015)

Inventive, adventurous, humorous, and a lyric aperture onto the strange beauty of the quotidian, pet radish, shrunken is a delight to read. Unified in their unpredictability, these poems explore a range of forms and voices. Pirie rubs words until they spark and fume, turning the common into an uncommon blaze. Every line is joyful in its eccentricities, and eminently re-readable as it tumbles through language.


Watch for a reading by the Lampman finalists, announced in the fall!

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