David Bradford & Liz Howard named Griffin Poetry Prize finalists | College of Arts

David Bradford & Liz Howard named Griffin Poetry Prize finalists

We’re so pleased to offer our congratulations to Guelph CW MFA alumni David Bradford and Liz Howard on being named finalists for this year’s prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize.

David is nominated for his debut collection, Dream of No One But Myself, published by Brick Books, while Liz is recognized for her sophomore collection, Letters in a Bruised Cosmos, published by McClelland & Stewart. Liz was a previous winner of this award in 2016 for her first book, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent.

Awarded annually to one international and one Canadian collection, the Griffin Poetry Prize is one of the world’s most generous awards in the genre. The two winners, to be announced via the Griffin Trust social media channels on Wednesday, June 15, will each be awarded $65,000. The other finalists — 3 International and 2 Canadian — will be awarded $10,000. Other CW MFA alumni who have previously been finalists for this award include Aisha Sasha John, Soraya Peerbaye and Canisia Lubrin (winner, 2021).

The international judges for this year’s Griffin Prize are Adam Dickinson (Canada), Valzhyna Mort (Belarus), and Claudia Rankine (Jamaica/US). They had the following citations for these two exceptional collections:

Dream of No One But Myself by David Bradford
Dream of No One But Myself immerses the reader into an archival torrent of intergeneration trauma. This stunning debut never settles for formal complacency as it navigates the rhythmical intelligence of linguistic play, the anguished vigilance of footnotes, and the creased visual proofs of tenderness. Amid his troubled subjects, David Bradford’s most urgent relationship is with language. The poet’s inventive language never slips into just a stunt: it surprises and stirs with its honesty and vulnerability and manages to make whole everything it has so spectacularly torn.”

Letters in a Bruised Cosmos by Liz Howard
“Responding to astrophysical evidence of a potential collision between the known universe and a parallel universe, the poems in Liz Howard's powerful collection trace this 'cosmic bruise' as it recurs like an epigenetic expression in family history, intergenerational trauma, and the phenomena of everyday life. Like dark matter in the bloodstream, or the star-shaped cells in the brain and spinal cord, the poet carries this vestige within her, observing its shape as a present absence in the spilled ashes of her Indigenous father, or in dissociative childhood experiences of abjection, or in meditations on cognition and Indigenous cosmology. The poems in Letters in a Bruised Cosmos are intimate, astonishing, and moving caresses of the bruise the past makes within and around us, marking the many ways in which 'history is a sewing motion / along a thin membrane'.”

You can read more about all the shortlisted authors on the Griffin Trust website where you’ll find links to learn more about the authors and purchase the books.