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Archibald Lampman Award: the 2021 Shortlist

Faces of Doris Fiszer, Pearl Pirie, and Deborah-Anne Tunney above images of their book covers

Arc Poetry Magazine was founded in 1978 by three professors at Carleton University in Ottawa, on the traditional and unceded territories of the Algonquin Nation. We are proud to honour poets from this region, especially by presenting the Archibald Lampman Award to an outstanding collection of poetry by a National-Capital area author.

The announcement of the Archibald Lampman Award winner will take place virtually at the Ottawa Book Awards ceremony on Wednesday, October 20th at 6pm EST. The event will be hosted in partnership with the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Public Library, virtually held on Zoom and streamed on Facebook Live.

On Wednesday, October 6th at 7pm EST, the three shortlisted authors will join together for an evening of readings from their shortlisted collections. The event will be held on Zoom, and links will be shared on Facebook shortly before the event.



The jury for the 2021 award were Mike Chaulk (Guelph), Rasiqra Revulva (Toronto), and Jane Munro (Victoria). The editorial board and board of directors for Arc Poetry Magazine are excited to present the shortlist that the jury has selected:

> Locked in Different Alphabets (Silver Bow Publishing) by Doris Fiszer
> footlights (Radiant Press) by Pearl Pirie
> A Different Wolf (McGill-Queen’s University Press) by Deborah-Anne Tunney


Our congratulations to all of the shortlisted authors!

a yellow-backgrounded banner with text and small images of the authors' faces and the books' covers. The nominated books are: • Locked in Different Alphabets (Silver Bow Publishing) by Doris Fiszer; • footlights (Radiant Press) by Pearl Pirie; and, • A Different Wolf (McGill-Queen’s University Press) by Deborah-Anne Tunney. space


Learn more about the 2021 Shortlist

> Locked in Different Alphabets (Silver Bow Publishing) by Doris Fiszer
> footlights (Radiant Press) by Pearl Pirie
> A Different Wolf (McGill-Queen’s University Press) by Deborah-Anne Tunney



a picture of Doris Fiszer's head and shoulders




Doris Fiszer is the author of Locked in Different Alphabets (Silver Bow Publishing) and two chapbooks: The Binders (Tree Press) and Sasanka (Wild Flower) (Bywords). She has won awards for her poetry including the 2017 John Newlove Award and Tree Press’s 2016 Chapbook contest (for The Binders). The Binders was also a bpNichol Award nominee. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies in Canada and the United States. She lives in Ottawa.




The judges said:cover of Locked in a Different Alphabets by Doris Fiszer, which is a dark image of a stone wall with hieroglyphs and a wooden floor

Doris Fiszer’s Locked in Different Alphabets is an album of vivid moments from eight decades of an immigrant family’s life. Her spare and insightful lyrics track growing up in Canada with an abusive brother; what she knows of her father’s childhood in Poland, incarceration in a concentration camp, and undaunted feistiness. Finally, they focus on her mother, from “Wild Flower” in the Polish Home Army to foraging for fungi which flavour her goulash. Dangerous, trying, pleasurable—Fiszer’s snapshots capture conflict and change, hope and horror, and the persistence of kinship and character through it all.






a picture of Pearl Pirie's head and shoulders




Pearl Pirie is a queer concussed writer living in rural Quebec. Her poetry collection, the pet radish, shrunken (Book*hug, 2015) won the Archibald Lampman Award. Her manuscript Thirsts won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was published in 2011. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies, and her newest chapbooks are Call Down the Walls (Frog Hollow Press, 2019) and the forthcoming Water loves its bridges: Letters to the dead (The Alfred Gustav Press, 2020).




The judges said:cover of footlights by Pearl Pirie, which is illustrated in green leaves with a young moose in the middle.

Pearl Pirie’s footlights is a playful tribute to the momentary. Moving between philosophical and recognizable physical spaces, Pirie processes the quotidian with attention, insight, and humour. Warm-bodied and breathing, footlights is wonderfully peopled, executed through the subtleties of a syntax that reads with ease but shifts, tumbles, and dances. footlights feels like a call to look closely as it makes a case for any instance, however mundane—proving even our less spectacular, often unclocked, moments are worthy occasions for poetry.





a picture of Deborah-Anne Tunney's head and shoulders




Deborah-Anne Tunney is a poet, short story writer and novelist who was born and lives in Ottawa. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Canadian, American and UK literary journals and anthologies. Her linked short story collection, The View from the Lane (2014) and her novel Winter Willow (2019) were published by Enfield and Wizenty. Her first book of poetry A Different Wolf came out in June 2020 from McGill-Queen’s University Press.




The judges said:cover of A Different Wolf by Deborah-Anne Tunney, which is solid grey with an illustrated green eye on white skin with an arched dark eyebrow, looking out through a circular hole in the middle.

Deborah-Anne Tunney’s A Different Wolf is a meticulously conceived and brilliantly executed debut examining the cinematic and personal impact of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. With bladelike precision and an impeccable eye for detail, Tunney pierces the screen, the scene, and the man behind the camera; and invites the reader to gaze through the incision, into the ravenous heart revealed within. Challenging, seductive, voyeuristic, and entirely in command of both image and artifice, A Different Wolf is a thrilling collection sure to intrigue lovers of poetry and cinema alike.





The full list of books nominated for the 2021 Archibald Lampman Award:

The Marta Poems by Susan J. Atkinson (Silver Bow Publishing)
We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite by Conyer Clayton (Guernica Editions)
Locked in Different Alphabets by Doris Fiszer (Silver Bow Publishing)
Perfume: Poems and Word Sonnets by Seymour Mayne (Ronald P. Frye & Co.)
Walking on the Beaches of Temporal Candy by Christian McPherson (At Bay Press)
footlights by Pearl Pirie (radiant press)
Finish this Sentence by Leslie Roach (Mawenzi House)
A Different Wolf by Deborah-Anne Tunney (McGill-Queen’s University Press)



Arc is grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Ottawa, as well as many individual supporters. For further information contact Arc Poetry Magazine at