Scott Griffin, founder of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry announced the International and Canadian shortlist for this year's prize. Judges Tim Bowling (Canada), Fanny Howe (USA) and Piotr Sommer (Poland) each read 560 books of poetry, from 42 countries, including 24 translations.
The seven finalists - four International and three Canadian - will be invited to read in Toronto at Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory in the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, on Wednesday, June 3rd at 7.30 p.m. The seven finalists will each be awarded $10,000 for their participation in the Shortlist Readings.
Among the finalists are Wioletta Greg (Grzegorzewska), author of Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance, and her translator Marek Kazmierski. The book was published by Arc Publications in 2014.
The winners, to be announced at the Griffin Poetry Prize Awards on Thursday, June 4th, will each be awarded $65,000.
These poems, as translated from Polish into English by Marek Kazmierski, retain the force of first experience and, equally, a collection of history’s remains. Greg’s thoughts include the catastrophe of the 20th century whose marks still wobble before her eyes, and into the experience of living in post-Communist Poland. This stunning collection shows us (mostly through the eyes and memories of childhood) a world of objects transported across years. ‘Tossing satin bulbs into wicker baskets,’ the child poet is at ease with the earth and the hardy objects made from it. Greg grants us the privilege of seeing what she saw before she saw more.
-- Judges citation
Wioletta Greg is a poet, writer, editor and translator. Born in southern Poland, she moved to the UK in 2006 and currently resides in the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Wioletta has published several volumes of poetry in Poland, Canada and the UK, including Wyobraznia kontrolowana (Controlled Imagination, 1988); Parantele (Kinships, 2003); Orinoko (2008); Inne obroty (Alternate Turns, 2010); the bilingual Pamięć Smieny/Smena’s Memory (2011); the collection of short prose forms Notatnik z wyspy (Notes from an Island, 2011) and a debut novel Guguły (2014, to be published in English by Portobello) in which she revisits the experience of growing up in communist Poland. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and she has won several literary prizes, including the Tyska Zima Poetycka.
Marek Kazmierski is a writer, publisher and translator. He escaped communist Poland as a child and settled in the UK. Joint winner of the Decibel Penguin Prize and sole recipient of the BIKE Magazine Philosopher of the Year award, Marek is also the managing editor of a prison literary magazine Not Shut Up and founder of OFF_PRESS, an independent publishing house which has worked with English PEN, the SouthBank Centre, the Polish Cultural Institute in London, the Mayor of London and various universities across Europe. His work has been published in numerous journals and titles, including The Guardian, 3AM Magazine and Poetry Wales. This book was translated during his residency at Villa Decius in Krakow, Poland, courtesy of The Polish Book Institute.