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 2020 award were Lucas Crawford, Robin Richardson, and Douglas Walbourne-Gough.

Ben Ladouceur's Mad Long Emotion

2020 Winner

“Mad Long Emotion” by Ben Ladouceur

This collection is brimming with lines full of deft, subtle music, practically vibrating with resonant meaning, yet the language is deceivingly colloquial: “If I pedal too fast my bike sings a song about brokenness.” These poems are vulnerable without sentimentality, unafraid of the simply joy of being “on my second coffee and a bus and I love the whole world.” Ladouceur’s irrepressible energy, unstinting attention to the seemingly minute details of his environment, and his loving care of the bodies that populate the collection will keep readers engaged from start to finish. [2021 Judges]

Ben Ladouceur is the author of nine chapbooks, including bpNichol Award nominee Lime Kiln Quay Road (above/ground press), and the collections Mad Long Emotion and Otter (Coach House Books), which was named a best book of 2015 by the National Post, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and awarded the Gerald Lampert Memorial Prize for best poetry debut in Canada. He has published poems in Poetry, The Awl, and The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, and short fiction in Maisonneuve, The Malahat Review, and Prairie Fire, among other publications. He was prose editor for Arc Poetry Magazine from 2015 to 2018, and he received the Writers’ Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging LGBTQ Writers in 2018. He lives in Ottawa.

2020 Shortlist

“The Landscape That Isn’t There” by Mary Lee Bragg

The Landscape That Isn’t There offers a lyric look through family history, “a prairie blizzard kept the doctor away / and her husband … heated the china serving platter / and put the baby there to keep her warm.” The voices and their imagery, clear and confident, are wrought from facing mortality, facing the reality that “masked men will / set my breasts aside, to break my sternum / and touch my heart,” and how “[r]ecovery is a chemistry experiment.” Bragg’s collection asks for acknowledgement, wants us to see that “I’ve been through so much.” It invites us to sit within the trauma of near-death but to also recognize the resilience that can come from survival.

Mary Lee Bragg grew up in Calgary and now lives in Ottawa. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in literary magazines and ezines in Canada, the United States and Cuba, in the novel Shooting Angels, and in two chapbooks, How Women Work and Winter Music. The Landscape That Isn’t There is her first full-length poetry collection.

“From Turtle Island to Gaza” by David Groulx

Groulx’s collection articulates the “long execution” shared by the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and Palestinians in Gaza. These to-the-bone, potent poems sing the pain of “the settlers / live there now / painting pictures / writing stories / our lives are / silent”; the persistent, violent irony that “[w]e have become aliens / strangers / outsiders / foreigners / unknown / in our own land / other.” There is, also, a reminder for tender resiliency: “When we speak of freedom / we must also speak of our freedom / to be kind / to be just / and to be in love.” From Turtle Island to Gaza knows that the colonial experience is a global one. Groulx’s hope, that through these poems “we find that we, colonized peoples, are not alone,” is very well-met.

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.

Other 2020 Nominees

Footprints of Dark EnergyHenry BeisselGuernica Editions
Cursed ObjectsJason ChristieCoach House Books
Because I CanHanieh KhoshkhouPeacock Press
A halt, which is emptyrob mclennanMansfield Press
We Were Like Everyone ElseKen VictorCormorant Books
Insult to the BrainNicola VulpeGuernica Editions

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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