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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.