We’re so excited to announce that Jónína Kirton will be our judge for the 2021 Foster Poetry Prize, CV2‘s writing contest for emerging writers formerly known as the Young Buck Poetry Prize. The contest is now open to writers of any age who have not yet have published a full-length book of poetry. Read on to learn more about Jónína and find out what she’s looking for in a poem!
Jónína Kirton is a Red River Métis/Icelandic poet and a graduate of the Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio where she is their BIPOC Auntie supporting and mentoring BIPOC students. A late-blooming poet, she was sixty-one when she received the 2016 City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for an Emerging Artist in the Literary Arts category.
Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, was released with Talonbooks in 2015. Joanne Arnott described this collection as “restorative, intimate poetry, drawing down ancestral ideas into the current moment’s breath.” Her second collection, An Honest Woman, was released in 2017, again with Talonbooks. It was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Betsy Warland had this to say about An Honest Woman: “Kirton picks over how she was raised familially and culturally like a crime scene.” Her third book, a poetic memoir, Standing in the River of Time, will be released in 2022 with Talonbooks.
Here is what Jónína is looking for in a winning poem: “I long for poems that surprise me, that are not predictable, and that use an economy of words to explore complex issues. It could be a fresh take on any of the problems or concerns that we currently face; perhaps an unexpected ending that speaks to the uncertainty that comes with being human. After all, life is messy. A good poem can reflect this and bring comfort to those struggling. Speak to what most matters to you right now. It is very likely that someone needs to read that poem. Be as bold as you can keeping in mind that boldness need not be loud. It can be subtle. Stretch yourself, take risks.”