2021 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist

2021 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist

Nightwood Editions is beyond thrilled to announce that two authors published by the press have been shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize—the world’s largest international prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English.

The East Side of It All by Joseph Dandurand is told from the point of view of a drug user and single-room occupant in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and explores the ongoing process of healing through reconnection with family, the natural world and traditional Indigenous (Kwantlen) storytelling. As this year’s judges write,

These are deeply moving spiritual invocations, extricated from poisoned air by a fallen angel. Dandurand is a member of the Kwantlen First Nation, located on the Fraser River near Vancouver. His origin and roots are the sources of wisdom and myths, which he masterly embeds in a drama of a dysfunctional modern society.

Pluviophile by Yusuf Saadi veers through various poetic visions and traditions in search of the sacred within and beyond language. Its poems continually revitalize form, imagery and sonancy to reconsider the ways we value language, beauty and body. The collection houses sonnets and other shorter poems between larger, more meditative runes. From the judges:

Where other poets find moon, Saadi sees “moon’s kneecup,” where others see mere daffodils, Saadi asks: “Do daffodils dissolve in your / unpractised inner eye?” This is the poet who is unafraid of play.