Torontoist Poetry Contest Winner: Betts is Best
How is National Poetry Month treating you? On the second week of celebration, Torontoist is beginning to buckle a little under the strain of too much fun, but it warms our hearts to witness the large number of bookish events offered this April. We are happy to announce the winners of our poetry contest as part of the nationwide festivities.
Back in January, Torontoist launched a Toronto poetry contest to encourage the writing of new poems about our fair city. Congratulations to poets Maureen Hynes, Prathna Lor, Peter O’Donovan, Jenny Sampirisi, and Matthew Tierney, whose poems receive honourable mentions. Stay tuned over the next two weeks to read their work, and to view the locations of the contest entries presented in lovingly rendered cartography.
Our thanks to all contestants, to judges Carly Beath, Stephen Cain, and Jay MillAr, and to sponsors Coach House Books, ECW Press, Junction Books, iloveyougalleries, and The Mercury Press. Today, we present the winning poem, “Eatons Effluviad,” by Gregory Betts.
Gregory Betts was born in Vancouver to Maritime parents, and, “as part of the national compromise,” spent most of his life in Toronto. Though not a natural “Upper Canadian,” Gregory’s work in poetry, fiction, and criticism has consistently explored the literary milieu of his adoptive city. He is the author of If Language (2005) and the collaborative Haikube (2006)—the sculptural counterpart of which, by Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel, is currently on display at the Olga Korper Gallery. He teaches Canadian and Avant-Garde Literature at Brock University in St. Catharines.
His winning poem, “Eaton’s Effluviad,” was written across from the shopping centre at Yonge and Dundas. Oddly enough, this intersection was the poetic location most frequently cited by our contest entrants; we were surprised to know that people from Toronto actually go there!
Gregory wins: Torontology by Stephen Cain (ECW Press), The Shooter’s Bible by Karen Solie (Junction Books), The State of The Arts: Living With Culture in Toronto (Coach House Books), Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (The Mercury Press), a framed I Love You Toronto photographic print by Sharon Harris, and eternal bragging rights.
Read Gregory Betts’s “Eaton’s Effluviad” after the break.
Photo of Gregory Betts (with tip of the CN Tower) by Lisa Betts.
“EATON’S EFFLUVIAD” by Gregory Betts