Caribbean Canadian poet Kaie Kellough has made it into to the finals of a very very rich race. He is one of three Canadian authors in the running for the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Prize, the country’s richest annual poetry contest.
If Kellough’s book Magnetic Equator is chosen later this spring, he will take home a purse of $65,000.00. He is up against Chantal Gibson’s How She Read and Doyali Islam’s Heft.
Kellough’s family is originally from Guyana. He was born in Vancouver, raised in Calgary, and now lives in Montreal. In addition to Magnetic Equator he is the author of the novels Dominoes at the Crossroads, and Accordéon, (finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award), two additional books of poetry, Lettricity and Maple Leaf Rag, and two albums, Vox:Versus and Creole Continuum.
The annual Griffin Prize has a jury panel of three poetry experts. Ireland’s Paula Meehan, Jamaica’s Kei Miller and Toronto poet Hoa Nguyen. They described Kellough’s book as one which “speaks to Caribbean and hemispheric migrations. The poems in Magnetic Equator recall trouble, hybridity, steep falls, continuance, and elaboration. ‘Our crossings of past, we depart / opposite, along the sentence that encircles the world’.”
In addition to the Canadian Poetry Award, the Griffith also awards $65,000 to the best International poetry book. In the running for the 2020 international prize are: Sharon Olds (Arias), Abigail Chabitnoy (How to Dress a Fish), Sarah Riggs (Time) and Natalie Scenters-Zapico (Lima: Limón).
The two big winners will be announced using the Griffith’s social media channels on Tuesday, May 19, and they will each be awarded $65,000. The other finalists – three International, and two Canadian, will be awarded $10,000 each.
In issuing the shortlists yesterday the Prize also announced the cancelation of its annual Award’s gala and readings because of virus restrictions.