Arrowsmith Press, in conjunction with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and The Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, are delighted to announce that the co-winners of the second annual Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry are Canisia Lubrin for The Dyzgraphxst and Serhiy Zhadan for A New Orthography. The winners were selected by poet Major Jackson from a short list of twenty worthy finalists. The winners will split the $1,000 prize. Established in 2019, the annual prize is for a book in English or English translation by a living poet writing in any language who is not a US citizen (green card holders welcome) published in the previous calendar year.
About Canisia Lubrin’s work, Jackson wrote:
Gorgeously layered, ambitious in scope, The Dyzgraphxst performs a marvelous resistance to simple orthodoxies of selfhood in poetry. Lubrin reimagines the contours of genre and form, even language’s possibility for complexity, plenitude, fracture, and assemblage.
Commenting on Serhiy Zhadan’s work, Jackson noted:
The devastating and wildly charming poems in Serhiy Zhadan’s A New Orthography, written in the wake of the Russo-Ukrainian War, once again make a startling case for the predominance of a lyrical imagination, especially during a geopolitical crisis. One might expect such poems to retreat to embittered irony or surreal escape. I am astounded at the large-scale heart of this work, the courageous persistence of an autonomous voice remarking on the dailiness of life in war time with apparent whimsy and an undercutting joy.
A hybrid reading will be held with this year’s poets, along with Julia Copus, recipient of the 2019 Walcott Prize, at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, on Sunday, September 19th at 3PM EST.