CBC BOOKS, CBC’s online home for literary content, together with its partners the Canada Council for the Arts and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, today announced the winner of the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize.

MONTREAL, November 21, 2019 – CBC BOOKS, CBC’s online home for literary content, together with its partners the Canada Council for the Arts and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, today announced the winner of the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize.

Alycia Pirmohamed of Calgary wins the grand prize for Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation, Prairie Storm and Tasbih. The collection was selected from more than 2,500 works received from across the country. You can read Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation, Prairie Storm and Tasbih at CBCBooks.ca.

As grand-prize winner, Pirmohamed will receive $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and her work will be published on CBC Books. She will also receive a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

The jury was composed of writers Lynn Crosbie, Olive Senior and Billy-Ray Belcourt, who said:

“Here is a poet who “pours and pours” the whole world inside a single sentence. A poet who puts a sentence under a sentence to build a world. There is a biographical depth in Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation, Prairie Storm and Tasbih that gives expression to a narrative yearning that is immediately felt—so much so that to read on is to get to the heart of the lyric mode. There is an unwavering confidence here, a quiet playfulness, and an ear for unpredictable images and symbols, all of which suggest to us that this is a poet to watch, from whom we may learn, in their diction, ‘how to symmetry, how to pray.’”

Alycia Pirmohamed is a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh, where she is studying figurative homelands in poetry written by second-generation immigrant writers. She is the author of Faces that Fled the Wind and a recent recipient of the Calgary Arts Development’s project grant program. Alycia received her MFA from the University of Oregon.

CBC Books also announced Maud Evelyne as the winner of the French grand prize this morning for J’ai vu ma mère en rêve. For more information, go to ICI on Lit under the “Prix de poésie” tab.

The six runners-up for the CBC Poetry Prize, each receiving $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, are Faith Arkorful (Toronto) for Family Affair, Stephanie Bolster (Montreal) for Shelter Object, Catherine Greenwood (Victoria) for The Grolar Bear’s Ballad, Erin Soros (Toronto) for You Left Something, Sarah Tsiang (Kingston, Ont.) for 12 and Cara Waterfall (Costa Rica) for Caribou in the Anthropocene. Their poems will also be published on CBC Books.

For more information on the CBC Literary Prizes, please visit CBCBooks.ca.


About CBC Books
Home to Canada Reads, Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel, The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers, Canada Writes and the CBC Literary Prizes, CBC Books connects Canadians with books, encouraging a shared love of reading and writing. For book news, writing challenges, reading lists, book recommendations and more, visit www.CBCbooks.ca.

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic and Chinese, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

About Canada Council for the Arts
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Council’s Public Lending Right (PLR) Program sends yearly payments to creators whose works are in Canada’s public libraries. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.