David Harsent’s Night and Ken Babstock’s Methodist Hatchet Win the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize

TORONTO – June 7, 2012David Harsent’s Night and Ken Babstock’s Methodist Hatchet are the International and Canadian winners of the 2012 annual Griffin Poetry Prize. They each received C$65,000 in prize money.

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

David Harsent
Faber and Faber

Methodist Hatchet
Ken Babstock
House of Anansi Press

The awards ceremony, attended by some 400 invited guests, was held in the Fermenting Cellar at the Stone Distillery and hosted by Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, and Trustees Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young.

Presenting the winners: Scott Griffin with 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize winners David Harsent and Ken Babstock.

The Judges for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize are Heather McHugh (USA), David O’Meara (Canada) and Fiona Sampson (UK). These distinguished writers and poets each read 481 books of poetry, received from 37 countries around the globe, including 19 translations. The Judges are selected annually by the Trustees of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry.

On the previous evening, the shortlisted poets read excerpts from their books at a sold-out event for more than 1,000 people in downtown Toronto at The Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, Koerner Hall.

The 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist features collections by three Canadian poets and four international poets:

  • Ken Babstock’s Methodist Hatchet, published by House of Anansi Press
  • Phil Hall’s Killdeer, published by BookThug
  • Jan Zwicky’s Forge, published by Gaspereau Press
  • David Harsent’s Night, published by Faber and Faber
  • Yusef Komunyakaa’s The Chameleon Couch, published by Farrar Straus and Giroux
  • Sean O’Brien’s November, published by Picador
  • Joanna Trzeciak’s translation of Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz Rózewicz by Tadeusz Rózewicz, published by W.W. Norton & Company

Trustee Margaret Atwood presented each poet with a leather-bound edition of their book and a $10,000 honorarium.

The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the 2012 Shortlist, edited by David O’Meara 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.

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For further information, contact:

June Dickenson
E-mail: press@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 2012 Griffin Prize Anthology and shortlist books online
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Photo credit: Event photo by Tom Sandler

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