Liz and I will join a crowd of 800 or so to listen to the poets nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize read from their work.
The finalists among Canadian poets are Kevin Connolly, for his volume Revolver, Jeramy Dodds for Crabwise to the Hounds and A.F. Moritz for The Sentinel. These finalists seem plucked from a limited pool: All are from Toronto (or, in the case of Dodds, from Orono, less than an hour east of Toronto), all are male, two of the three (Connolly and Moritz) are published by the aforementioned Anansi Press, while the third, Dodds, had his volume edited by Connolly. It's hard to believe that there wasn't a single volume in Canada from outside this small circle that deserved a nod.
An ambitiously unique collection like Revolver may be one reason why Connolly has often existed "outside the normal bounds of canonical Canadian poetry," as he puts it. "I don't go with Al Purdy, or Leonard Cohen, or Lorna Crozier or people like that." But it's perhaps this very reason why Connolly has found an audience with a younger generation of poets and readers. Indeed, Babstock points out that when he teaches creative writing it is Connolly who is among the most revered by his students: "They go crazy for him."
Revolver • Kevin Connolly House of Anansi Press
Crabwise to the Hounds • Jeramy Dodds Coach House Books
The Sentinel • A. F. Moritz House of Anansi
Press International Shortlist
The Lost Leader • Mick Imlah Faber and Faber
Life on Earth • Derek Mahon The Gallery Press
Rising, Falling, Hovering • C. D. Wright Copper Canyon Press
Primitive Mentor • Dean Young University of Pittsburgh Press
I'm not familiar with any of these works so I'm really looking forward to hearing all the poets read tonight.