Wednesday 14 October 2009

Griffin Poetry Prize announces the judges for 2010.

The judges for next spring's Griffin Poetry Prize
have been announced, and it's certainly a smart bunch: Anne Carson, Kathleen Jamie, and Carl Phillips.

I like this line-up, and it follows a pattern the Griffin Prize seems to like: a Canadian, a European, and an American. Carson is the Canadian judge, but she's not exactly part of the Canadian poetry scene. This makes it nigh-impossible to predict who might make the Canadian shortlist based on close associations alone and should quell some of the inevitable cronyism allegations that often accompany literary prizes.

The judges have a lot of work ahead of them. There have been an awful lot of excellent collections pubished this year and paring the list down to four international and three Canadian titles will be a challenge.

In 2008, six of the seven shortlisted books were either collected or selected volumes, and that created a feeling that perhaps the prize that year was given more for a life's work than for a single book. But in 2009, the shortlisted books were all stand-alone collections. Will there be a similar trend this year?

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