Haida Gwaii-based writer Susan Musgrave is pictured in Victoria in summer 2019. On Friday, May 15, 2020, it was announced that Musgrave won third place in the 2020 Fish Poetry Prize contest. (Regina Akhankina/Submitted photo)

Haida Gwaii-based writer takes home third prize in international poetry contest

Susan Musgrave announced as top 10 winner of 2020 Fish Poetry Prize for poem ‘Wild and Alone’

A writer who lives on Haida Gwaii recently took home third prize in an international poetry contest.

On May 15, Susan Musgrave’s poem “Wild and Alone” was announced as one of the top 10 winners of the 2020 Fish Poetry Prize, put on by the Fish Publishing company in Ireland.

The poem was chosen by American poet and returning judge Billy Collins from more than 1,900 entries, so when Musgrave found out that she had won third prize along with 200 euros, she told the Observer she was “shocked.”

ALSO READ: “Oona River Poems” captures northwest B.C.’s landscapes

Musgrave said the winning poem is about a domestic argument, and although it may not be available to share until after the top 10 winners are published in an anthology this July, Collins did provide some comments about the work on the Fish Publishing website.

“Only the clear-eyed can write soberly of a domestic argument, and here the poet resists theatrics for the ordinary details of the scene, except perhaps for the copy of Lowry flying into the flames,” Collins wrote. “To learn from a mouse is the poem’s quirky but humble settlement.”

ALSO READ: Former bank robber, author Stephen Reid has died

Musgrave told the Observer that she entered the contest on the day it closed, which was March 31, on the advice of former Haida Gwaii resident Angela Long.

Long won an honourary mention in the contest for her poem, “On Reading Ecclesiastes 5 at St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral.”

“A meditation, as the title tells us, on the weight of the church measured in granite, until the poem slips into an elegy for a mother, who ends the poem beautifully almost hypnotically with her endless peeling,” Collins wrote of Long’s poem.

ALSO READ: Musgrave in running for GG’s award

Musgrave has published more than 30 books and teaches poetry as part of the University of British Columbia Optional Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Her most recent poetry book is “Origami Dove” and in 2015, she published “A Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World.”

She also owns and manages the Copper Beech House in Masset.

The Fish Anthology 2020 was to be launched as part of the West Cork Literary Festival in July, but the festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Arts and culture

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skidegate daycare staff recognized for creative care during COVID-19

Staff have been using social media to share isolation activities, read stories and sing songs

Village of Queen Charlotte approves business facade improvement grants

Applications from Gather, dental clinic, A Level Up approved, leaving about $14,000 up for grabs

Recycling services in Queen Charlotte, Port Clements expanding next week

Residential plastics will be accepted again, but most residential transfer stations remain closed

‘At least they’re safe:’ Arrival of new Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii delayed due to COVID-19

Operation Refugees says family stuck in Lebanon with no flights, ‘but at least they’re safe’

‘Good news:’ Council of the Haida Nation releases guidelines for expanding social circles

Next steps also say outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails may be reopening for day use

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read