Winner of the Second Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest:
ZOE DICKINSON for intertidal: poems from the littoral zone
intertidal: poems from the littoral zone opens with a land acknowledgement that speaks a brutal contradictory truth and ponders how “this long slow genocide” has led to the poet choosing to reside where “someone should be gathering camas bulbs.” From one-word lines to stanzas as big as sea-urchins, these poems take us to the littoral zone where sunlight and a scientist’s eye bring aquatic life to radiance. Adept with laying a poem out in space, witty – both bitingly and humorously – and wise! “no point in hanging on / to someone else’s shell,” this emotionally complex chapbook portrays a sampling of those who live in this neighbourhood. It gives the reader swift, precise, and telling images to evoke what’s rarely said but readily recognized. We hear the music of space awash on a page; it conducts the breath and the phrasing of heart and mind. Through these multiple modes and lenses, ecologies are uncovered under the shadow of colonialism “and,” the poet writes, “if poetry is a way of learning to know the world then I want my poems to show this truth.”
Zoe Dickinson is a poet and bookseller from Victoria, British Columbia. Her poetry is rooted in the Pacific coastline, with a focus on local ecology and human relationships with nature. She has been published in literary journals such as Existere, Prairie Fire, and Contemporary Verse 2, and her chapbook, Public Transit, was published in 2015 by Leaf Press. She is the co-Artistic Director of the Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series.
Second Place Celia Meade for The Ones You Love
These poems sparkle in shock and surprise in matters of love and pain. Starting from the point of view of Oedipus’ mother, other characters from antiquity come to life. Antigone, Oedipus’s daughter, speaks to her lesser known sister Ismene (“the gentle person no one writes about.”) One of the wonders of the chapbook is we’re suddenly placed in the present where a daughter writes about her father’s “blood red liver, for instance / overrun with flowering buds.” With a tone that shifts from no-nonsense (“If you feel sorry for yourself go to emerg”) to the poetically pristine (“the wasps gorged and grew drunken and amatory”), The Ones You Love listens and speaks to the heartache that is always the underside of being human.
Celia Meade is currently an MFA writing student at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She holds an MFA in painting, has shown internationally and lives on Salt Spring Island with her partner, fellow poet Karl Meade. Her writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications including Brushfire, Plainsongs, The Louisville Review, and Perceptions Magazine.
Third Place Diane Massam for Every Now and Then
From prose poems to glossa, sonnets and a haiku, the formal range in Every Now and Then astonishes at the turn of every page. An astute use of metaphor allows lived experience to emerge. Poems about aging, loneliness, languages of love, and the way memory transposes a life into a horizon reveal “the queen of yearning, I have seen it all.” The formal expressions in this chapbook act as an amanuensis to memory itself where “They are the shape of me and they carry me back just as I was – but different.”
Diane Massam is an emerging poet happy to be living in her home-town of Victoria BC, after many years away. Her poetry explores themes of aging, memory, and relationships with place. She was the winner of the 2021 FBCW Poetry Contest and second prize winner of the 2020 Janice Colbert Contest. A retired professor of linguistics, she is now completing a certificate in creative writing.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE POETS WHO SUBMITTED WORK FOR THIS CONTEST
Judges for the 2022 contest were two award-winning B.C. poets, Jane Munro and Kevin Spenst.
Jane Munro is an award-winning Canadian poet, writer and educator. Her most recent poetry collection is Glass Float (Brick Books, 2020). Blue Sonoma (Brick Books) won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her previous poetry books include Active Pass (Pedlar Press), Point No Point (McClelland & Stewart), and Grief Notes & Animal Dreams (Brick Books). She is a member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko’s Dogs who have published Caution Tape (Collusion 2021), Rhinoceros (Gaspereau), and Whisk (Pedlar). Munro’s newest book, Open Every Window (Douglas & McIntyre, fall 2021), is a genre-bending prose memoir. She’s taught Creative Writing at several BC universities, gives writing workshops, and has read her poetry to audiences in Canada, Ireland, the USA, Italy, India and Egypt. She lives in Vancouver.
Kevin Spenst is the author of three poetry collections: Ignite, Jabbering with Bing Bong and Hearts Amok: a memoir in verse (all with Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press), and Upend (Frog Hollow Press: Dis/Ability series). He has done over a hundred readings across Canada, dozens of workshops in and around Vancouver, and numerous talks at UBC, SFU, and other universities and colleges. He lives on unceded Coast Salish territory in Vancouver.