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Finalists Announced for World’s Biggest Poetry Prize

TORONTO, Digital Journal – Seven writers will vie for the most lucrative poetry prize in the world.

Yesterday, the Griffin Poetry Prize organizers announced the shortlist for the annual prize, divided into two categories, Canadian and international. Each prize is worth $40,000, and the winner will be announced June 3 in Toronto.

In the Canadian category, shortlisted writers are Di Brandt for Now You Care, Leslie Greentree for Go-go Dancing with Elvis, and Anne Simpson for Loop. In the international category: Suji Kwock Kim for Notes From the Divided Country, August Kleinzahler for The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, David Kirby for The Ha-Ha and Louis Simpson for The Owner of the House.

A record-breaking 423 books from 15 countries were submitted this year, up 100 from last year. The Griffin Poetry Prize, founded in 2000 by businessman Scott Griffin, is notorious for boosting recognition of written verse while also sparking increased sales for the shortlisted publishers.

Alana Wilcox is the publisher at Coach House Books, who published the nominated Now You Care by Di Brandt. Waited with bated breath at yesterday’s announcement, she was “thrilled to hear Di’s name announced, but had to keep quiet to hear the other nominees.” Already a Griffin winner with Christian Bok’s Eunoia, known as the fastest-selling poetry book in Canada, Coach House Books is looking for a repeat performance with Brandt’s work.

“The Griffin does fantastic things for poetry in Canada,” Wilcox says. “It makes it exciting and glamorous and fun, which poetry is not linked to very often.”

The poetry will move from page to stage in a couple months, when the seven finalists are invited to read at Toronto MacMillan Theatre on June 2. For more information, go to:

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