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The Diana Brebner Prize, Confederation Poets Prize & Critics’ Desk Award Winners for 2018

You may have seen our recent announcement that Christine McNair’s stellar collection Charm won the 2018 Archibald Lampman Award, but we have more prizes to give out–the Diana Brebner Prize, the Confederation Poets Prize, and the Critics’ Desk Awards!

Congratulations to all our 2018 winners!

Diana Brebner Prize

The Diana Breb­ner Prize is awarded yearly for the best poem writ­ten by a National Cap­i­tal Region poet, who has not yet been pub­lished in book form. The prize hon­ours the late Diana Breb­ner, an award-winning Ottawa-based poet who was devoted to fos­ter­ing lit­er­ary tal­ent among new, local writers.

This year’s judge was Canisia Lubrin.

Winner: Deborah-Anne Tunney’s “Our World”

Our world, the poet reminds us, is a thing we make. We draw by hand and reach and unmake. This struggle-born poem conjures line-by-line a hopeful music that swells and retreats in the rupture of a homestead both familiar and alien. The poem dares us to think of a desire for respite from “the murdered sky” in equal measure as to behold the “unloved men” chafing at the world’s overt and underhanded currents of despair. What is the first-born possibility of the thing we call fate, of what the bright light of language can mean under darkness? What is the stark realization that our world defies the limits of our mourning? Our world invites an expansive dialogue between the inward voice and the ecologies that we forget by a clarity that also lives always, outward.

–Canisia Lubrin

Honourable Mention: Laurie Koensgen’s “Ceremonies”

“Ceremonies” held this reader throughout its careful compressions of language in a music still memorable, poignant and delightful. This poem makes immediate work of the poetic line to draw us into a fecundity–while not accessible to all–generous and inviting in its intimate space-holding ritual. Its music is both lament and ode and it’s images profound with revelation.

–Canisia Lubrin

Con­fed­er­a­tion Poets Prize

Arc Poetry Mag­a­zine’s Con­fed­er­a­tion Poets Prize is named in recog­ni­tion of a group of Cana­dian poets who were born around the time of Cana­dian Con­fed­er­a­tion. The term was first applied and usu­ally refers to Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Car­man, Archibald Lamp­man and Dun­can Camp­bell Scott. Lamp­man and Scott, as well their con­tem­po­rary William Wil­fred Camp­bell, lived and wrote in Ottawa, where, in the for­ma­tive years of a new coun­try, they helped lay the foun­da­tion for a tra­di­tion of poetry.

A cen­tury later, Arc hon­ours them and acknowl­edges the wealth of new Cana­dian poetry by awarding the annual Con­fed­er­a­tion Poets Prize for the best poem pub­lished in Arc in the pre­ced­ing year. Selected by a promi­nent mem­ber of Canada’s lit­er­ary com­mu­ni­ties, the award includes a $250 prize.

This year’s judge was Renee Sarojini Saklikar.

This year’s Con­fed­er­a­tion Poets Prize winner is Hanako Masutani, for “Charlie Horse” from Arc 82.

Critic’s Desk Award

With the Critic’s Desk Award, Arc marks the importance that the thoughtful treatment of poetry holds in the evolution and wider appreciation of the genre.

Inaugurated in Arc‘s 25th-anniversary year, the Critic’s Desk Award honours excellence in book reviewing. The Award is given annually to a feature review and to a brief review to have been published in Arc in the previous calendar year.

This year’s judge was Adèle Barclay.

This year’s feature review winner is Joshua Whitehead, for the critical essay “Making Love to Make Live: Kihcihtâkosiwi-Nikamowin” from Arc 84.

I have to live. by aisha sasha john

The brief review winner is Sarah Burgoyne, for “There’s Stuff Between Things: Aisha Sasha John’s I have to live,” published on the Arc website in November of 2017.