National Poetry Month is about celebrating poetry.
The League of Canadian poets proudly celebrates the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Longlist. Congratulations to all the incredible poets on this list.
The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized authors’ tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes a first book of poetry published by a Canadian.
Mary Barnes – What Fox Knew (At Bay Press)
“His voice was as thick as pine resin when he began to read and as the words travelled down my spine.” So begins this beautiful collection that highlights and awakens the subtle beauty that that surrounds us. In What Fox Knew, Mary Barnes has created a clear, artful and evocative study of the natural world, a groundbreaking first collection of poetry.
Lindsay Bird – Boom Time (Gaspereau Press)
Boom Time is an exploration of Lindsay Bird’s time working in isolated construction camps in Northern Alberta. This impressive collection details the unique social experiences of working in these camps, artfully bringing the inhabitants and setting to life. With wit, sensitivity, and a sharp eye, Bird opens a world of characters, and offers true depth of insight and understanding to readers.
Heather Birrell – Float & Scurry (Anvil Press)
Heather Birrell’s debut, Float & Scurry, offers a playful and powerful view of the world that we live in. Birrell explores the surreal aspects of the ordinary world we often overlook, adding notes of humour and wit to ruminations on everything from libraries to long-distance friendships.
Laura Cok – Doubter’s Hymnal (Mansfield Press)
Doubter’s Hymnal is a personal meditation on faith that masterfully outlines struggles that are universal to all who question. In Laura Cok’s debut poetry collection, readers will find themselves tempted to examine their own faith, doubts and assumptions more sharply in the face of this vulnerable and refreshing collection.
Paola Ferrante – What to Wear When Surviving A Lion Attack (Mansfield Press)
Paola Ferrante’s What to Wear When Surviving A Lion Attack is a meditation on how women survive trauma, abuse, and the patriarchal imbalances of society. Using animal imagery and stark, revealing comparisons – Ferrante has woven together a debut collection that is both original, revelatory, and immensely socially important.
Chantal Gibson – How She Read (Caitlin Press)
In How She Read, Chantal Gibson has created a work that reflective, meditative, and incisively sharp in its observation and beauty. This collection subverts genre and boldly uses changing poetic styling and the result is both stunning and illuminating. This collection showcases the full breadth of Gibson’s poetic talents. How She Read has been shortlisted for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize Canadian List.
Thomas King – 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin (HarperCollins Publishers)
Thomas King’s debut collection of 77 poems is a powerful and thought-provoking debut. This collection stands as a eulogy for all that we have lost and squandered, and a call to action to save what we can in the natural world. Each fragment in this collection stands alone in its own right, But more powerful is the narrative that runs through this collection, creating a beautiful whole from poems ranging that range from wit to reflection to condemnation.
Sadie McCarney – Live Ones (University of Regina Press)
In Live Ones, Sadie McCarney has created a truly stark, honest and powerful debut collection. Live Ones explores an expansive range of personal and universal topics – coming of age, mourning, death, and navigating queer identity in small-town Atlantic Canada. The characters, scenes, and concepts explored in Live Ones come to life through Sadie McCarney’s sharp and revealing use of language.
Alessandra Naccarato – Re-Origin of Species (Book*hug Press)
The Re-Origin of Species is a mature, thoughtful and timely connection that brings together Alessandra Naccarato’s personal ancestry with themes that are universal. This seamless debut collection explores the interconnectedness and interdependence of all living things, and prompts the reader to examine their own relationship with the natural world.
Bart Vautour – The Truth About Facts (Invisible Publishing)
Bart Vautour’s The Truth About Facts uses the structure of an alphabet book to create a refreshing and insightful look at both fact and fictional subjects. This originally–structured collection brings a refreshing reminder of the power, potential and wonder of facts and information. Vautour has a unique ability to be both playful and insightful in this examination of the power of information, leading the reader to examine their own ingrained conceptions about knowledge and what they know.
Matthew Walsh – The are not the potatoes of my youth (Goose Lane Editions)
In These are not the potatoes of my youth, Matthew Walsh takes the reader on a nomadic journey through Canada and through their own experiences growing up. This debut collection shines in its storytelling and exploration of the themes of family, individual experience and queer identity. Walsh has created an impressive debut with humour, insight and simply beautiful poetry.
Laura Zacharin – Common Brown House Moths (Frontenac House Ltd)
Common Brown House Moths is a meditation on the hazards of everyday life. Laura Zacharin’s debut collection mixes poetic forms, styles and energies to explore the human experiences of memory, illness, recovery, loss and gain. With honesty and wit, Zacharin’s poetry speaks directly to the reader and encourages them to find the elegance and meaning in their own life experiences.