May 28th, 2024

George McWhirter sole Canadian shortlisted for Griffin Poetry Prize

By The Canadian Press on April 17, 2024.

Irish-Canadian poet George McWhirter poses in this undated handout photo. Only one Canadian has made the short list for the Griffin Poetry Prize, a prestigious literary award that until recently had a separate purse just for homegrown talent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Mark van Manen *MANDATORY CREDIT*

TORONTO – Only one Canadian has made the short list for the Griffin Poetry Prize, a prestigious literary award that until recently had a separate purse just for homegrown talent.

Irish-Canadian poet George McWhirter made the list for “Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence,” his translation of works by Homero Aridjis, originally written in Spanish.

Should he win June 5, McWhirter would receive 60 per cent of the $130,000 prize, while Aridjis would receive 40 per cent.

Others on the short list include “A Crash Course in Molotov Cocktails,” translated by Amelia Glaser of the U.S. and Yuliya Ilchuk of Ukraine, from the original Ukrainian by Halyna Kruk.

American Jorie Graham made the list for “To 2040;” Ann Lauterbach, also of the United States, is a finalist for “Door;” and Ishion Hutchinson of Jamaica was shortlisted for “School of Instructions.”

Runners up receive $10,000.

Prize benefactor Scott Griffin announced in 2022 that the award would consolidate its international and Canadian categories – which were worth $65,000 apiece – into one global purse for the best book of poetry published or translated into English.

Last year’s winner was Roger Reeves, an American, for his book “Best Barbarian.”

Meanwhile, Newfoundland-based Don McKay will receive this year’s $25,000 Lifetime Recognition Award. Last year’s recipient was Fanny Howe of the United States.

The Griffin Poetry Trust also awards the $10,000 Canadian First Book prize, for a poet’s debut collection. The winner will be announced May 29.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2024.

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