The Archibald Lampman Award recognizes an outstanding book of English-language poetry by an author living in the National Capital Region.

The jury for the 2016 award were Sachiko Murakami, Liz Howard and Shane Book.

2016 Winner

“the pet radish, shrunken” by Pearl Pirie

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. [2016 Judges]

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).

2016 Shortlist

“Wabigoon River Poems” by David Groulx

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.

David Groulx lives in Vanier, Ontario and was raised in the mining community of Elliot Lake. He is proud of his Aboriginal roots—Ojibwe Indian and French Canadian. His poetry has appeared in over 160 publications in 16 countries. He is the author of 13 books of poetry including Wabigoon River Poems (Kegedonce, 2015) and The Windigo Chronicles (BookLand Press, 2016). His work has appeared most recently in Contemporary Verse 2, Transmotion, The Muse, Rabbit: A Journal for Non-Fiction Poetry, and The Stonecoast Review.

“Understander” by N.W. Lea

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.

N.W. Lea was born in Whitehorse, Yukon and grew up in and around Ottawa and Montreal. He is the author of the poetry collection Everything is Movies and the chapbooks light yearsActual Girl, and Present! He lives with his partner and cat in Ottawa.

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

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