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 2023 award were Billeh Nickerson (British Columbia), Jennifer Still (Manitoba), and Sanna Wani (Ontario).

2023 Winner

But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves. by Conyer Clayton

Conyer Clayton’s wildly imaginative prose poems are a ballast against forgetting. From body horror to synaesthesia, Clayton creates a world where we can slip in and out of our skin in a single breath. An arresting and cinematic portrait of life, But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves is as rich and dexterous as its title. Clayton’s poetry anchors us in an uncertain hope: “no one ever knows what happens next.” [2023 Judges]

Conyer Clayton is an award-winning writer, editor, musician, and arts educator living on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe land. They are the author of But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves. (Finalist for the Pat Lowther Award and Raymond Souster Award), We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Winner of the 2021 Ottawa Book Award), and many chapbooks, including two with the Ottawa-based poetry collective VII, of which they are a member. They are the Nonfiction Editor for untethered magazine and a Poetry Editor for Augur.

2023 Shortlist

Sheets: Typewriter Works by Cameron Anstee

Cameron Anstee’s Sheets: Typewriter Works is at once an enigmatic gift and feat of curiosity. Anstee composes the “eternal etcetera” in this collaboration between a poet and his late friend’s Olivetti Lettera 30 typewriter. Sheets embodies a poet forwarding through language with love, carrying on through grief without backspace, tilting the page, pinning the voice. This collection is testament to how the language of love and grief can hold—and is itself—poetry.

Cameron Anstee is the author of two collections of poetry, Sheets: Typewriter Works (Invisible Publishing, 2022) and Book of Annotations (Invisible Publishing, 2018), and the editor of The Collected Poems of William Hawkins (Chaudiere Books, 2015). He is the editor and publisher of Apt. 9 Press and holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Ottawa.

Fire Cider Rain by Rhiannon Ng Cheng Hin

Fire Cider Rain is an evocative and elemental debut. Rhiannon Ng Cheng Hin writes memory as hydrology: language is fluid, stories are recycled, losses rise and fall and continue without end. Sharp, smoky and full of ash—that is, the past—this collection incites the reader to stop, slow down and experience its histories. Fire Cider Rain is linguistic tonic.

Rhiannon Ng Cheng Hin is a writer from the Gatineau Valley in Québec. Her poetry and essays have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Brick, The Walrus, Grain, The Malahat Review, and Best Canadian Poetry 2024 (forthcoming). She currently serves as Associate Poetry Editor with Plenitude Magazine and studies medicine at McGill University. Fire Cider Rain is her debut collection.

Nuclear Family by Jean Van Loon

Jean Van Loon has an unequivocal eye, which wanders into the depth of familial and global histories, using poetry powerfully as an investigative lens. A pre-haunted childhood awareness informs Van Loon’s tragic family history told in verse. Equal parts confessional, long poem and lyric essay, Nuclear Family delves into the secretive with wise eyes, deep heart and a strong gut. This collection radiates.

Jean Van Loon is an Ottawa-born writer and a graduate of Carleton, Queen’s, Humber, and UBC. Her second poetry book, Nuclear Family, was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in April 2022. Her first, Building on River (Cormorant, 2018), was a finalist for the Ottawa Book Award. Her story, “Stardust,” published in the Queen’s Quarterly, was included in Journey Prize Stories 19. Her stories, poems, and reviews have appeared in magazines from coast to coast.

Other 2023 Nominees

A Season in LowertownDavid BlaikieWet Ink Books
Openwork and LimestoneFrances BoyleFrontenac House Poetry
Immune To The Sacred Stephen BrockwellMansfield Press
lisan al’asfourNatalie HannaARP Books
the book of smallerrob mclennanUniversity of Calgary 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

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