Things to Do around Winnipeg when you’re Black By Michael Fraser – Winner of the 2022 Lesley Strutt Poetry Prize

Congratulations to the 2022 Winner of the 2nd Annual Lesley Strutt Poetry Prize

Things to Do around Winnipeg when you’re Black by Michael Fraser

Thank you to the contest judge, Richard-Yves Sitoski!

Michael Fraser is published in Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 and 2018. He has won numerous awards, including Freefall Magazine’s 2014 and 2015 poetry contests, the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize, and the 2018 Gwendolyn Macewen Poetry Competition. The Day-Breakers (Biblioasis 2022) is his third poetry collection.

From juror Richard-Yves Sitoski:

This poem riffs on Gary Snyder’s “Things to Do in San Francisco” and “Things to Do in Seattle” in a poignant way. “Things to Do in Winnipeg when You’re Black” is, as much as Snyder’s poems, a call to engagement with the geography of something as vast as a city, but it’s an engagement that doesn’t follow the white narrative. It’s a strong assertion of the hereness of a place, positioning us in the heart of Winnipeg and allowing us to follow the text through the author’s history–a history which valorizes the place of Black and Indigenous heritage in their context as creators of the Prairies of today. The poem truly blossoms in its last third, where we see the triumph of the landscape (as landscape must always triumph) and where we’re taken outside of time itself.

Honourable Mentions

(in no particular order)

The Zeignarik Effect by Hollay Ghadery

Litterchur by Jeff Parent

When You Saw Me by Gordon Taylor

Searsville Reservoir Untraumas Me by Cassandra Meyers

Fire in the Hole by Phillip Crymble