Montreal—two poems on the shortlist

Published : Monday, November 14, 2011 | Label:

The Montreal International Poetry Prize, community funded and launched earlier this year, is, it seems, the largest prize ever offered for a single poem. The organisers hope 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.

I had five poems longlisted: “You Over There, Me Here: A Whodunit in Three Sestets”; “Sandhill Cranes”; “The Bay”: “Walking Under Water”; and “The Kingfisher”.

The shortlist (of fifty) has just been announced, and “Walking Under Water” and “The Kingfisher”, are on it. I guess I’m trying not to think too much about the outcome. For now, it feels fine, and I feel blessed, to have made the shortlist.

The MPP people are publishing two poems a day, along with author bios and MP3 files of each of us, in our many accents, reading our poems. They’ll announce the winner in early December.

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