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Announcing the 2022 Diana Brebner Prize Winner and Honourable Mention!

Winner: “Curfew” by John Geddes

2022 Judge Bardia Sinaee had this to say:

“’Curfew’ stands out for its lucidity and mystery. Rifles are being handed out, lines are being drawn. The light has been shattered, so we have to rely on what we can hear: the rasp of metal being dragged across asphalt, a boy’s voice straining for a man’s pitch. The details are so granular, yet there is a dreadful ambiguity here. The scene is placeless, timeless, and unforgettable.”

 
An excerpt from “Curfew”

Again with nightfall stones fly here and there,
one lucky throw nailing a porch light, its
warm cone inhaled up into the nostril
where the struck glass shattered; the filament,
drenched in oxygen, drowns like a kitten.

 
John Geddes is an Ottawa writer who has tried his hand at lots of different kinds of writing. As a political journalist, he’s won National Magazine Awards and Harvard’s Nieman Fellowship. His novel “The Sundog Season” won the Ottawa Book Award. Last year, he picked up a Digital Publishing Award for a personal essay about the Nazi past of a Viennese painting in the National Gallery’s collection. Most recently, the Irish literary quarterly The Moth published one of John’s short stories.
 

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Honourable Mention: “Companion Species” & “A Different Kind of Person” by Jennifer Baker

2022 Judge Bardia Sinaee had this to say:

“Is there ‘some molecular record of our touch’? Miraculously, the answer is not so academic. With an extraordinary economy of words, these poems remember a beloved dog the day after its death, and find what remains beyond grief: the merciful, unconditional, and ultimately undying love of a dog, for whom there is no ‘fair or unfair / only / here or not here.’”

 

An excerpt from “Companion Species”

I am reaching        constantly       to my side
the day after your death

to rub a cheek
scratch an ear

 

Jennifer Baker is a part-time professor in English Literature at the University of Ottawa. Her first chapbook, Abject Lessons, was published in 2014 by above/ground press and her creative writing, essays, and reviews have appeared in various literary publications including Dusie, Ottawater, The Bull Calf, and The Journal of Canadian Poetry and Canadian Literature. Her article, “Resituating Kroetsch: Accident and the Provisional Georgic in Robert Kroetsch’s ‘The Ledger,’” was recently published in Robert Kroetsch: Essayist, Novelist, Poet (2020).

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Congratulations to both poets on their great writing!

 

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Learn more about the Diana Brebner Prize.

Learn more about this year’s judge of the Diana Brebner Prize, Bardia Sinaee.