Announcing the Winners of the 2023 Foster Poetry Prize!
Huge congratulations to Sasha Pickering, whose poem “Fundament” was selected by judge Emily Riddle as the Grand Prize winner! Sasha will receive $1000 in prize money, and her poem will appear in the upcoming spring 2024 issue of CV2!
Big congratulations, also, to Cicely Grace, Henry Heavyshield, and Gwen Aube, winners of the second place, third place, and honourable mention prizes, respectively. Cicely, Henry, and Gwen will each receive cash prizes as well, and their poems will also appear in the spring issue!
Read on to hear what Emily had to say about the judging process and the winning poems –
“While ruminating on the shortlist for the Foster Poetry Prize, I regained a faith in the ability of poetry to balm wounds, challenge our current world order, and chronicle the strange/wonderful timeline we inhabit. I feel inspired to return to my own poetry practice.
The First Place Winner, Sasha Pickering’s “Fundament”, had so many gut punching lines that stuck with beyond reading through this list of poems. This poem is propulsive, skilled, and witty. This poem reminded me of the delicious tension of being both sovereign in our individualities and wholly bled into one another. I will think about the ending line “Don’t expect too much of me, you say, to which I reply I only expect the world” for a long time.
Cicely Williams, the second place winner, immediately had my attention with their brilliant prose poem “Buying a Pregnancy Test in October or Schrodinger’s Fetus.” As someone who grew up in a hair salon, I love the contrast between the everyday mission of adornment contrasted with the contemplation of a more permanent decision. The writer asks us to consider whether the poem itself cares. The poem itself is a character in this story. I would like to keep reading and I will think about what my poems themselves think.”
The third-place winner, Henry Heavyshield, wrote a prairie epic in a poem, which is not an easy task. I found myself entranced by the language and rhythm in “winter counting, an honour song for prairie allies.” The poet takes us on a journey through familiar prairies scenes and situations, with masterful use of language, including a bit of Blackfoot.
I chose “raised by wolves” by Gwen Aube as the honorable mention poem. At first, I was completely enamored that I was reading a poem that mentioned Neopets and Inuyasha. After a full read through, I was enamored by this poet’s ability to host us within this world of nostalgia and honesty.
I am so glad I was able to spend some time with each of these poems. I look forward to seeing these poets flourish beyond this contest, as the world is giving us much to write to/for currently. It was a pleasure to be the 2023 Foster Poetry Prize Judge.”
– Emily Riddle