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CBC Longlist Announced and Guernica Poets Offer their Writing Tips

The longlist for the CBC Poetry Prize has just been announced and Guernica poets Barry Dempster and Ruth Pierson made the cut.

Barry DempsterBarry Dempster, who has published three of his poetry collections with Guernica, worked as Poetry and Reviews Editor for Poetry Canada for six years. Currently, he works as an editor for Brick Books.  Two of his collections, Fables For Isolated Men (1982) and The Burning Alphabet (2005), were nominated for Governor General’s Awards. The Burning Alphabet won the Canadian Authors Association Jack Chalmers Poetry Award in 2006.


Ruth Pierson

Ruth Pierson is the author of “They’re Still Women After All: The Second World War and Canadian Womanhood (McClelland & Stewart 1986) among other academic studies, Ruth Roach Pierson published her first book of poems, Where No Window Was, with BuschekBooks of Ottawa in the spring of 2002, a year after retiring from thirty-one years of teaching as historian and feminist scholar first at Memorial University of Newfoundland and later at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.  Her poems have appeared in ARCCV2EventThe FiddleheadThe Literary Review of CanadaThe MalahatReviewMIX MagazinePagiticaPottersfield Portfolio,Prism InternationalQueen’s Feminist ReviewQuills, andRoom of One’s Own as well as a number of anthologies.  She won first place in the Third Annual Poetry contest (2002) of Word: Toronto’s Literary Calendar, was a finalist in the poetry category of the 2003 Pagitica Literary Contest, received an honourable mention in Fiddlehead’s 2003/2004 Ralph Gustafson Contest for Best Poem and an honourable mention in CV2’s 2007 Two-Day Poetry Contest. She is the editor of Guernica’s latest poetry anthology: I Found it at the Movies.

CBC’s Canada Writes draws writers from across the country and receives 10, 000 submissions a year. Among the readers for this year’s competition were Lorri Neilsen Glenn and Cyril Dabydeen, also of Guernica Editions. They took some time to share their writing tips with aspiring poets across Canada.

Lorri Nielsen Glenn says that it is crucial for poets to “Read. Widely—all kinds of poetry, and as many genres of prose as inspire and challenge you. I think of writing as a personal and cultural conversation, and to contribute to the conversation I have to bring a wealth of reading to the page. Reading digs a deeper well of connection that inspires and informs me.”

Cyril Dabydeen says that “Most of all it’s felt experience that matters, what’s close to the bone—feelings, emotions… combined with a sense of craft. Creating a poem is not unlike making a table or chair, with the poet as maker. Celebrated poet Derek Walcott said it best: writing poetry is ‘perfection’s sweat…like raindrops on a statue’s brow.'”

The 2014 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist will be announced on Monday, September 8, and the winner on Monday, September 22.

To read the full longlist, you can visit CBC’s Canada Writes at:

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