Alice Oswald wins Griffin International Poetry Prize

Scott Griffin presents the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize winners, Alice Oswald and Jordan Abel

Alice Oswald’s Falling Awake, published by Jonathan Cape, and W.W. Norton & Company, is the winner of the International prize, with Jordan Abel’s Injun, published by Talonbooks, winning the Canadian prize.

A renowned and award-winning poet, Oswald served on the jury of last year’s Griffin Poetry Prize. “I was really struck last year by what a generous and warm occasion it was,” she said. “It didn’t seem like some of the English prizes, which can get a bit competitive.”

The other finalists on the International shortlist were Jane Mead for World of Made and Unmade, Denise Riley for Say Something Back, and Donald Nicholson-Smith for his translation of Moroccan poet Abdellatif Laabi’s In Praise of Defeat.

“Poetry is not a career, it’s a way of living,” said Oswald when asked what this prize meant for her career. “I’m just very, very grateful.”

Each winner receives $65,000, while all the poets who participated in the shortlists readings, which were held at Koerner Hall in Toronto on Wednesday, each receive $10,000.

The judges for the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize are Sue Goyette (Canada), Joan Naviyuk Kane (US) and George Szirtes (UK). These distinguished writers and poets each read 617 books of poetry, received from 39 countries around the globe, including 23 translations. The trustees of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry select the judges annually.

The 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist features four International and three Canadian poetry collections:

During that evening, esteemed poet Frank Bidart was announced as The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry’s 2017 Lifetime Recognition Award recipient, to the surprise and delight of the capacity audience. Trustee Mark Doty paid tribute to Frank Bidart and presented him with the award.

9 June 2017