York alumni shortlisted for prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize

Canadian poets and York University alumni Canisia Lubrin and Yusuf Saadi have been shortlisted for the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize. Widely considered the most prestigious poetry award in Canada, the Griffin family gives out two prizes annually: one to a Canadian poet and one to an international poet.

Lubrin and Saadi are graduates of York’s Creative Writing program in the Department of English, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

“The Griffin Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious in Canada. We are so pleased to see not one, but two graduates of the York Creative Writing program represented among the Canadian finalists,” said David Goldstein, associate professor and coordinator of York’s Creative Writing Program. “The work of both poets is exquisite and has been since they were students here. This is a well-deserved honour.”

Canisia Lubrin
Canisia Lubrin. Photo: The Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes
Yusuf Saadi
Yusuf Saadi











Lubrin is nominated for her book The Dyzgraphxst (Penguin/Random House, 2020), a long poem that both examines the idea of selfhood while exploring issues of race, oppression and colonialism. Last month, Lubrin was one of eight international authors to receive the $165,000 U.S. American Windham-Campbell Prize.

Born and raised in Saint Lucia, Lubrin completed a BA in creative writing at York University and an MFA at the University of Guelph. She teaches creative writing at OCAD University and poetry at the University of Toronto and is also incoming poetry editor at the literary press McClelland & Stewart.

Saadi is nominated for Pluviophile (Nightwood Editions, 2020), a combination of longer sonnets and shorter meditations. He was previously awarded the Malahat Review’s 2016 Far Horizons Award for Poetry for the poem “The Place Words Go to Die,” which is included in Pluviophile. Yusuf holds an MA from the University of Victoria and currently resides in Montreal. Pluviophile is his debut collection.

The winners will be announced on June 23.