Margaret Avison’s Concrete and Wild Carrot and Paul Muldoon’s Moy sand and gravel Win the 2003 Griffin Poetry Prize

TORONTO, June 12, 2003 – The Canadian and International winners of the 2003 Griffin Poetry Prize are Margaret Avison, Concrete and Wild Carrot and Paul Muldoon, Moy sand and gravel, it was announced tonight at the third annual awards event. The C$80,000 Griffin Poetry Prize, the richest poetry prize in the world for a single volume of poetry, is divided between the two winners. The prize is for first edition books of poetry published in 2002.

International Winner Canadian Winner
muldoon-pic-book
Moy sand and gravel
Paul Muldoon
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
avison-pic-book
Concrete and Wild Carrot
Margaret Avison
Brick Books

The awards event was hosted by Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, Heather McHugh (International winner 2001) was the Emcee, with judges Sharon Olds and Sharon Thesen announcing the Canadian and International winners for 2003.

Among the more than 300 guests celebrating the awards were the Guests of Honour, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada and His Excellency John Ralston Saul. In addition, poets, publishers and other literary luminaries attended the celebration which took place in The Stone Distillery (formerly a whiskey distillery), Toronto’s newly renovated centre for the arts, designated a historic site. The two winners will be invited to read at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 17th, the second year that the Griffin Poetry Prize winners have been showcased at the Edinburgh Festival.

Preceding the awards event, the seven shortlisted poets (three Canadian and four international) read excerpts from their books at a sold-out Special Harbourfront Reading Series Event on June 11th, attended by more than 500 devotees. The Canadian 2003 Shortlist includes Margaret Avison’s Concrete and Wild Carrot, Dionne Brand’s thirsty and P.K. Page’s Planet Earth: Poems Selected and New. The international shortlisted books are Kathleen Jamie’s Mr. and Mrs. Scotland are Dead: Poems 1980-1994, Paul Muldoon’s Moy sand and gravel, Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets: Poems and C.D. Wright’s Steal Away: Selected and New Poems.

The judges for 2003 are the distinguished poets Michael Longley (U.K.), Sharon Olds (U.S.A.) and Sharon Thesen (Canada) who, between them, not only read 327 books of poetry from 16 countries, but selected poems from the shortlist to compile The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the 2003 Shortlist, edited by Thesen and published by the House of Anansi Press. Royalties generated from the anthologies, published annually, are donated to UNESCO’s World Poetry Day.

In addition, from the four copies of each book submitted for this year’s prize, two thirds are donated to Corrections Canada, with one third going to the The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The judges are selected on an annual basis by the Griffin Poetry Prize Trustees, Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young.

The Griffin Trust was created to serve and encourage excellence in poetry written in English anywhere in the world. Eligible collections of poetry, which includes translations, must be submitted by publishers in the calendar year of their publication.

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Please direct inquiries as follows:

General Inquiries

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

Press and Publicity

Prudence Emery, Publicity Director
E-mail: press@griffinpoetryprize.com

Shortlist summary, poet bios and citations

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Purchase 2003 Griffin Prize Anthology and shortlist books online

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