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Better than the Oscars: My 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Predictions!

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Better than the Oscars: My 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Predictions!

A few weeks ago the the world turned its attention to Hollywood to watch the 82nd annual Academy Awards, and, as is customary, most of the people watching probably made predictions about the winners in advance. Friends circulated ballots at Oscar parties. The news media and the blogosphere weighed in. Speculation ran high. All that's old news, of course, but something far more momentous is just around the corner, and I want to bring it to your attention. The Griffin Poetry Prize will be announcing its shortlist on April 6th, and that's far more exciting to me than any old Oscar.

Oscar predictions are familiar fare, and while predictions regarding literary prizes are similarly ubiquitous, they are often kept strictly between friends. This year I've decided to put my Griffin Prize shortlist predictions out there for everyone to see, and I'm calling on the readers of Open Book Toronto to share their own predictions in the comments field below.

But how does one arrive at such an exclusive list? Is it strictly a matter of personal taste? Is it all about critical reception? Is all about hype? Does one simply try to guess what the judges might prefer? But surely no two juries would arrive at the same conclusions! Perhaps we should just throw darts at a list of eligible titles? Well, as with Oscar predictions, I think sometimes it's a combination of all of the above, and I think every poetry lover probably has his of her own unique formula for picking the lucky few. It's purely guesswork of course, but we try, each in our way, to make the best guesses we can.

And so, these are my best guesses for the seven books which may or may not be named to the Griffin Prize shortlist in the weeks to come. I admit there is a healthy mathematical probability that I might be utterly wrong about these, but I'll give it my best shot. None of us will know how accurate our guesses are until the actual shortlist is revealed on April 6th.

I predict the three shortlisted Canadian titles will be:

Expressway
by Sina Queyras
Coach House Books

Pigeon
by Karen Solie
House of Anansi Press

This Way Out
by Carmine Starnino
Gaspereau Press

And I predict the four shortlisted International titles will be:

Grain
by John Glenday (UK)
Picador

A Village Life
by Louise Glück (USA)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rain
by Don Paterson (UK)
Faber and Faber

Inseminating the Elephant
by Lucia Perillo (USA)
Copper Canyon Press

Please don't forget to add your own predictions below!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Paul Vermeersch

Paul Vermeersch is the author of The Reinvention of the Human Hand (McClelland & Stewart, 2010) and three other collections of poetry. He is also the editor of The I.V. Lounge Reader and The Al Purdy A-frame Anthology.

Go to Paul Vermeersch’s Author Page