Montreal International Poetry Prize

Published : Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Label:

The Montreal International Poetry Prize, community funded and launched earlier this year, is the largest prize, perhaps ever, for a single poem. The organisers intend to send out the message, one feels, that poetry counts, that it’s cool and valuable. Desperately important, in fact, when the discourse of the soul is shouted down by the discourse of the market, the econobabble in which national and international politics seems to be conducted. To make their point, the organisers will award $50,000 to the winning poem, decided by an arduous judging process, and settled in the end by great English poet, Andrew Motion.

Apparently, the judges read poems from over fifty countries, but they weren’t to know where or whom they came from. They read every poem blind. As the MPP people say, “this completely levels the field and places the focus on the poem, not the poet.”

The longlist of nearly 150 poems has now been released. You can find it at http://montrealprize.com/. Follow the links to the longlist.

And each day till mid November, when they publish the shortlist of fifty finalists, you can read five poems from the longlist.

It’s a fantastic initiative, and the poems are rich and various. Check it out. Enter next year: much of the purse is drawn from the entry fees paid by poets. And best wishes to everyone longlisted.

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