We’re thrilled to announce the winner and honourable mentions for the 2021 Foster Poetry Prize, as selected by Jónína Kirton!
“Moving, Again” by Yilin Wang
“Brighton Beach” by Rebecca Faulkner
“WITNESS” by Sneha Subramanian Kanta
“Spilled Water” by Lucy Yang
We were also incredibly moved to learn that winner Yilin Wang has decided to donate her $1000 in prize money to Unist’ot’en Camp. Read on for a word from our judge and to learn more about Yilin’s generous decision. Please join us in congratulating her, Rebecca, Sneha, and Lucy on their wins!
A word from our judge, Jónína Kirton:
“As a poet I like to dig deeply into words, feel their impact, their history and all that they leave in their wake. Being a ‘judge’ in a poetry contest is a mixed blessing. The word judge evokes strong feelings in me. It has a long association with courts of law, the place that colonizers still use to ensure that their rights are enforced. At the same time, I also know that being selected or nominated in poetry contests can bring attention to a poet and their work and that this attention has far reaching effects. It is for this reason that I accepted this role, and I am so glad that I did. Every poem was compelling. I had to read them all over and over. Some poems take time to reveal the layers within them and I wanted to give each poem the attention it deserved. I kept returning to “Moving, Again” as a top contender. I was drawn to the formatting, the way it took space on the page while speaking to displacement, something that far too many of us have experienced. In very few words this poet covered a lot of territory, the shared history of the Chinese and Indigenous, the connection to family and friends via gifts that travel with us from home to home and the precariousness that exists for so many of us around home. As a landless Métis who has been a renter for most of my life I connected to this poem on many levels. I particularly enjoyed the subversive feel that taking so much space on the page brought combined with the way that the linkage to the past spoke to connections to place, to these Lands that cannot be undone. The fact that it did this while at the same time acknowledging all the stolen lands was brilliant.”
From contest winner Yilin Wang:
“I am so honoured that Jónína Kirton has chosen my poem “Moving, Again” as the winner of the Foster Poetry Prize and want to express my deepest gratitude towards her as well as to the whole team at CV2. This poem is a very personal piece that explores my experience moving during the pandemic, my understanding of home, and my relationship with and responsibilities to the land that I am on. Since the poem touches on the history of solidarity between Chinese Canadian and Indigenous communities, I will be donating the prize money that I receive to the Unist’ot’en camp in support of Indigenous land defenders who are defending their lands against the Coastal GasLink pipeline. I’d like to encourage all my fellow settlers to donate to the Unist’ot’en as well and to take actions to support them. Please check out this site for more details: http://unistoten.camp/. Thank you!”
Inspired by Yilin’s solidarity and thoughtfulness, the CV2 staff have decided to make our own donations to Unist’ot’en Camp along with hers. We’d like to thank Yilin for her generosity, and to congratulate her, Rebecca, Sneha, and Lucy on their wins once again!