2020 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Winner: Float and Scurry by Heather Birrell

The 2020 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award goes to…

Float and Scurry by Heather Birrell (Anvil Press/A Feed Dog Book)


Photo of Heather Birrell and Cover of Float and Scurry


From the jurors: In the rapid-fire collection Float and Scurry, Heather Birrell tackles parenting, patriarchy, personal politics and much more, often while driving the reader to laughter. So many of this book’s subjects and projects are notoriously difficult to write in a way that is engaging: meditations on modern technology, extended dream sequences, notes towards an unwritten novel. Like a champion roller-skater, Birrell makes each near-impossible feat look effortless and entertaining. Every word soars, every moment works.


From the publisher: In acclaimed short-fiction writer Heather Birrell’s rollicking debut full-length poetry collection, Mr. T, Joni Mitchell, Fidel Castro, and the poet’s mother (among others) barge in to distract and derail the poet’s dreams. The poems in this book are playful, hallucinatory, and often funny. They explore the far-fetchedness and perseverance of love between friends and family members, the importance of libraries and locked mental health wards, and ways to live with meaning in the face of a looming apocalypse. Birrell’s poetry lines—weaving through an acrobatic breadth of forms and tones—are both precise and plainspoken, and showcase an odd, intuitive logic, embracing the surrealism of this world we’re stuck in.


Thank you to the 2020 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Jurors: Anna Yin, Ben Ladouceur and Robin Richardson


Read “Wants and Needs” from Float and Scurry by Heather Birrell and order a copy from Anvil Press today!


Read an exclusive interview discussing poetry, process and pandemic with Heather Birrell.

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. With a prize of $2,000, it is presented each year at the LCP Annual Conference.

Read the 2020 Shortlist

Read the 2020 Longlist