Canadian poet and York University alumna Canisia Lubrin has won the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize for her book The Dyzgraphxst (Penguin/Random House, 2020), a long poem that examines the idea of selfhood while exploring issues of race, oppression and colonialism.
Widely considered the most prestigious poetry award in Canada, the Griffin family gives out two $65,000 prizes annually: one to a Canadian poet and one to an international poet.
“The Dyzgraphxst is Canisia Lubrin’s spectacular feat of architecture called a poem,” remarked the prize jury. “Built with ‘I’ – a single mark on the page, a voice, a blade, ‘a life-force soaring back’ – and assembled over seven acts addressing language, grammar, sentence, line, stage and world, the poet forms, invents, surprises and sharpens life.”
Lubrin is a graduate of York’s Creative Writing program in the Department of English, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.
“We are thrilled and proud that Canisia’s exquisite book has won the Griffin Prize,” said David Goldstein, associate professor and co-ordinator of York’s Creative Writing program. “It’s so wonderful to see a graduate of the program receive such a well-deserved honour. ”
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 the incoming poetry editor at the literary press McClelland & Stewart.