C. D. Wright’s Rising, Falling, Hovering and A. F. Moritz’s The Sentinel Win the 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize

TORONTO – June 3, 2009C. D. Wright’s Rising, Falling, Hovering and A. F. Moritz’s The Sentinel are the International and Canadian winners of the ninth annual Griffin Poetry Prize.

The Griffin Poetry Prize was founded in 2000 to serve and encourage excellence in poetry. The prize is for first edition books of poetry written in, or translated into, English, and submitted from anywhere in the world.

International Winner Canadian Winner
Rising, Falling, Hovering
C.D. Wright
Copper Canyon Press
The Sentinel
A.F. Moritz
House of Anansi Press

The awards ceremony was held at the Stone Distillery and hosted by Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, and Trustees Margaret Atwood, Carolyn Forché, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young.

Presenting the winners: Scott Griffin with A.F. Moritz and C.D. Wright
Presenting the winners: Scott Griffin with 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize winners A.F. Moritz and C.D. Wright

Celebrated literary critic and writer James Wood was the evening’s featured speaker.

Judges for the 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize are the distinguished writers and poets Saskia Hamilton (United States), Dennis O’Driscoll (Ireland) and Canada’s Michael Redhill. They read 485 books of poetry, including 33 translations, received from 32 countries around the globe.

The judges are selected on an annual basis by the Griffin Poetry Prize Trustees.

Some 400 guests attended the dinner, including poets and publishers, former Canadian Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, writers Graeme Gibson, Austin Clarke and Jane Urquhart, and CBC Radio Executive Director Denise Donlon, among others.

The Fermenting Cellar was transformed into a Mexican theme, with the funk ensemble LMT Connection playing live music for the guests.

On the previous evening, the shortlisted poets read excerpts from their books at a sold-out event for more than 800 people at the MacMillan Theatre.

The 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist features collections by three Canadian poets – Kevin Connolly’s Revolver, published by House of Anansi Press; Crabwise to the Hounds by Jeramy Dodds, published by Coach House Books and The Sentinel by A. F. Moritz, published by House of Anansi Press; and four international poets – the late Mick Imlah’s The Lost Leader, published by Faber and Faber (a selection of which was read by acclaimed Argentinian/Canadian playwright and actor Guillermo Verdecchia); Derek Mahon’s Life on Earth, published by Gallery Press; C. D. Wright’s Rising, Falling, Hovering, published by Copper Canyon Press and Dean Young’s Primitive Mentor published by University of Pittsburgh Press (a selection of which was read by famed Canadian actor R. H. Thomson).

Also that evening, renowned German poet and essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger was honoured with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Trustee Carolyn Forché paid tribute to Enzensberger and presented him with his award.

After the readings, Trustee David Young presented each poet with a leather-bound edition of their book.

In September, The Griffin Trust will take the two winners of the 2009 prize to Reykjavik, Iceland to read at the International Literary Festival. They will be accompanied by several poets, shortlisted in previous years.

The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the 2009 Shortlist, edited by Michael Redhill and published by House of Anansi Press, is now available at most retail bookstores. Royalties generated from the anthologies, published annually, are donated to UNESCO’s World Poetry Day. As in past years, copies of the submitted poetry books are being donated to Corrections Canada.

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For further information, contact:


Elana Rabinovitch
Griffin Trust Press Relations
E-mail: press@griffinpoetryprize.com


June Dickenson
Griffin Trust Publicity
E-mail: publicity@griffinpoetryprize.com

General Inquiries

Ruth Smith
Griffin Trust Manager
E-mail: info@griffinpoetryprize.com

Shortlist summary, poet bios and citations

Download press release | Download photos

Purchase 2009 Griffin Prize Anthology and shortlist books online

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Photo credit: Event photo by Tom Sandler

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