2020 Canadian Shortlist – Doyali Islam


Doyali Islam’s poems have been published in Kenyon Review Online, The Fiddlehead, and The Best Canadian Poetry in English, and have won several national contests and prizes. Doyali is the former poetry editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and has been a National Magazine Awards finalist for poetry, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Toronto, Ontario. heft is her second collection of poetry.

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Judges Citation

“Laid out against the horizontal landscape of the page, from the very beginning these poems demand from the reader a reorientation, and set out a goal to teach us how to read differently – not only the poems but also the world. What is beautiful and successful here is the way Doyali Islam takes small moments and gives to them an incredible, sometimes aching, heft: the ephemera left in a pocket become a map leading us back to love; an ant observed on the floor finds its way onto a white page – a black mark effectively writing its own poem, ‘struggling to interpret its situation’. In each of these poems, Islam makes that struggle for interpretation both wonderful and worthwhile.”

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