Apparently insensible to the ironies of announcing a prize list on April fool's day, the League of Canadian Poets has published the shortlists for the Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther Awards.
Is it just me or are these shortlists longer than they used to be? I guess that's to the good, but it makes it harder to say "it's an honour just to be nominated" with a straight face, particularly considering that one award excludes all members of one sex and the other excludes any book that isn't a debut.
Anyhoo, there are some strong candidates on both lists. I've read one third of the Lampert nominees (Langer and Peerbaye) and am working on a third (Stewart) in piecemeal fashion. Langer's book I think is terrific; Peerbaye's not so much. Stewart's, which is sharing space on my toilet tank with a book on Nabokov's lepidoptery, I'm quite enjoying thus far. I've been hearing great things all around about Kate Hall's Certainty Dream, which I hope to read before long.
Karen Solie's Pigeon (which I think is great) has to be the odds-on favourite for the Lowther, tho Sina Queyras' Expressway was recently shortlisted for the GG and Elizabeth Bachinsky's last book was nominated for a GG, too (still haven't read God of Missed Connections, I'm ashamed to confess). (The number of major nominations for writers on this shortlist raises the always awkward and controversial question of whether a ladies-only prize for poetry isn't anachronistic, or even retrograde. Thoughts?) I'm also a fan of Damian Rogers' Paper Radio, a review of which is forthcoming in the next issue of Arc.
I'm surprised that PR didn't make it onto that capacious Lampert list, too. No other egregious snubs spring to mind immediately, but I'm sure they're out there.