Lampert, Lowther Shortlists

The Finalists for the 2011 Gerald Lampert Award for best debut collection of poetry in English by a Canadian poet are (the parentheticals are author’s home, press):

The Crow’s Vow by Susan Briscoe (Montreal, Signal/Vehicule)
That Other Beauty by Karen Enns (Victoria, Brick)
Tiny, Frantic, Stronger by Jeff Latosik (Toronto, Insomniac)
[sic] by Nikki Reimer (Vancouver, Frontenac)
Here Is Where We Disembark by Clea Roberts (Whitehorse, Freehand)
The Nights Also by Anna Swanson (Vancouver, Tightrope)

Lampert jury: Lori Cayer, Jacob Scheier, Todd Swift

and the Finalists for the 2011 Pat Lowther Memorial Award for best book of poetry by a Canadian woman are:

Ossuaries by Dionne Brand (Toronto, M&S)
Walking to Mojacar by Di Brandt (Brandon, MA, Turnstone Press)
Living Under Plastic by Evelyn Lau (Vancouver, Oolichan Books)
Memory’s Daughter by Alice Major (Edmonton, University of Alberta Press)
Cathedral by Pamela Porter (British Columbia, Ronsdale Press)
La luna, Tango, siempre la luna (The Moon, Tango, Always the Moon) by Nela Rio (Fredericton, Broken Jaw Press)

Lowther jury: Magie Dominic, Eric Folsom, Yvonne Trainer

Spare thoughts re: the Lampert
There was really an embarrassment of riches this year for first collections. This isn’t a bad list. Some real diversity to be found. I’m glad to see [sic] get some attention, it being one of my very favourites of the past year, and obviously a big Wilson Park Road shout-out goes out to Vox Pop roommate and local superhero, Jeff Latosik. Anna Swanson is a friend, too, who wrote the kind of good, well-rounded debut that tends to sometimes get lost in these cattle calls. The only book here I haven’t read is Clea Roberts, but I’ll get on it. As for omissions? There’s lots. Leigh Nash would have been nice to see, also Melanie Siebert has to be a surprise after making the GG shortlist. Joshua Trotter? Or would his book be under 2011? I’d argue that the most obvious omission here, though, is Michael Lista’s. I think Bloom is that rare poetry collection that garners both critical excitement and (soon thereafter) the first inklings of an early critical backlash. Ninety-eight percent of first collections, including the great majority of Lampert winners, acquire neither in their time. Bloom will have to settle for being the most-discussed first book of the year, despite not making the LCP’s list of “best”.

Spare thoughts re: the Lowther:
I’ve read fewer of these, so I’ll tread lightly. Nice to see Dionne Brand out there for Ossuaries. I haven’t read the Brandt, but usually follow her work, so I’m surprised I’ve missed this one. That’s two book buying missives handed down to me by the League this afternoon…Omissions? I would have liked to see Sharon McCartney make it. Dani Couture’s “Sweet” was also wonderful. There’s always two to three deserving lists worth of options for this prize, I’m sure everyone has a pet book they’re disappointed to see miss out, but those two are probably mine, these two and the any number of other titles I can’t presently remember…Edit: I just woke up today and asked myself, “Wait, is Suzanne Buffam’s book on that list?” It is not. So there’s another surprise.

How about the League showing their diversity stripes on the publisher front? Twelve books, twelve different presses, and I count only 2 Toronto outfits in the whole batch (M&S and Tightrope). The League awards have sometime of a decentralist’s reputation compared to the Griffin and whatnot, and that’s displayed here.

Ah, awards season. That blessed time of every calendar year where we pause for a moment to express art as integers. Griffins drop tomorrow. You’ll know ’em when I know ’em.

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7 Comments on “Lampert, Lowther Shortlists”

  1. sheree Says:

    Wow.Thank you for posting this. All fabulous but my heart gladdened. Love the poetry of the very gifted and inspiring Nela Rio.


  2. […] The Lampert and Lowther shortlists. […]

  3. Brian Palmu Says:

    I can’t speak for or against any of the other books on the Lowther list, but we’re in deep water as assessors if we value Lau’s latest over those of McCartney and Siebert.

    Nothing new and not surprising, of course.


  4. Lampert jury: Lori Cayer, Jacob Scheier, Todd Swift

    Lowther jury: Magie Dominic, Eric Folsom, Yvonne Trainer

  5. voxpopulism Says:

    Thanks, League. Moving this up to the main post.

  6. Andrew Kinthompson Says:

    Bloom may have provoked an “early critical backlash,” but I think part of that may have been people close to the author constantly bringing it up and then pointing to how often it was brought up.

    I didn’t hear a much about it outside Ontario and I found the poems promising but trying too hard. As if the Slotin premise was already so perfect it needed a rigorous gimmick to do it justice.

    But that’s just my opinion. It is also my opinion that The Irrationalist is considerably more varied, original, funny, intelligent, accessible and well-edited.

    http://www.lapetitezine.org/Suzanne.Buffam.htm

  7. voxpopulism Says:

    Noted, Andrew. Surely, a lot of that complaining has come from this space, too. But if you look through the material, I think you’ll find a few provinces represented in that mix, beyond the big O.


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