Lina Chartrand Award

Between our desire for absolute love and
inability to love absolutely lies a great fear.
When, despite this paradox, our desires do
not die, it is a cause for celebration.

The lines above were written by the late Lina Chartrand. These powerful lines speak with great illumination not only about the talent of the woman who wrote them, but also about the sometimes tumultuous relationship of an artist with their art. A gifted playwright, dramaturge, screenwriter, and poet, Lina Chartrand was also a passionate Toronto activist who worked tirelessly to combat poverty and racial and sexual discrimination, advocated for disabled people, fought to improve conditions of the workforce for women and for access to fair and affordable legal services for those who need them. Her dedication led her to combine her artistic talents with her political efforts and commit her art to those she wished to help.

After her death in 1994 from complications related to liver disease, Lina Chartrand’s friends and family established the Lina Chartrand Poetry Award to honour her memory and her commitment to working on behalf of the rights of others. Contemporary Verse 2 has administered the award since its inception in 1994.

The award was created to recognize an emerging poet as a tribute to the spirit of Lina Chartrand’s life and work. This opportunity exists to celebrate women’s achievements in writing. Writers are chosen for this award from women published in CV2 during the previous year, and receive $500 and a copy of We make the air: The collected poetry of Lina Chartrand.

Recipients

2015
Chantelle Rideout
for her poem “Solstice,” which originally appeared in Volume 37 Issue 3

2014
Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy
for her poems “Elsipogtog #7” and “Elsipogtog #4,” which originally appeared in Volume 36 Issue 3
Read “Elsipogtog #7

2013
Kayla Czaga
for her poems “The Family,” “Peach Season,” and “Little Villain,” which originally appeared in Volume 36 Issue 1

2012
Katherena Vermette
for her poems “blue jay,” “red bird,” and “cedar wax wing,” which originally appeared in Volume 35, Issue 1
Read “blue jay

2011
Elee Kraljii Gardiner
for her poem, “Calling from Beirut,” which originally appeared in Volume 34 Issue 1
Read “Calling from Beirut

2009
Kathleen Brown
for her poem, “Nunavut,” which originally appeared in Volume 32 Issue 1

2008
Anna Swanson
for her poem, “Present Temperature,” which originally appeared in Volume 30 Issue 3

2007
(after a five-year hiatus) a tie between Aldona Dzieziejko and Elisabeth de Mariaffi

2002
Souvankham Thammavongsa

2001
kim dawn

2000
Susan Briscoe

1999
Donna Kane

1998
Janet McCowan

1997
Anne Simpson

1996
Anna Synenko

1995
Lynn Davies

CV2 offers its heartfelt thanks specifically to Maureen Hynes, Liz Ukrainetz and Kye Marshall for their work on behalf of Lina’s memory and their dedication to the support of women’s writing.