Montreal International Prize/Pulitzer Prize Poetry/Pandemic Poem Reaches Millions – Poetry News Roundup May 5th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at the winners of the Montreal International Poetry Prize and the Pulitzer Prize poetry category. We also look at the pandemic poem that has been seen by over 18 million people.

Montreal International Poetry Prize

Administered by the English department at McGill University, the Montreal International Poetry Prize is a biennial award with a prize of $20,000. It was created in 2010 by the poet Asa Boxer who was a McGill alumnus and the inaugural prize in 2011 was a staggering $50,000. Leonard Cohen, the poet who hailed from Montreal, was one of the sponsors.

The prize is now in its fifth cycle and the previous four have attracted entrants from 70 countries all over the world. All poems must be in English and be a maximum of 40 lines in length.

The highlight of the prize is the poem rather than the individual who wrote it, and for this reason, the prize committee looks only at individual works rather than collections.

The panel of judges for the prize is made up of poets from all over the world, including those from the UK, Australia, India and Nigeria. There are 10 jurors in total and it is their duty to create a shortlist. From this list, just one winner is selected by the judge who this year is Yusef Komunyakaa, the American Pulitzer prize-winning poet. Judging is blind to allow for complete impartiality.

Coronavirus Pandemic Poem Goes Viral

Last week a poet from London went viral on social media with his poem “The Great Revelation”. Tom Roberts penned the verse, which was full of optimism about the future of a post-COVID-19 world.

On Monday morning, he appeared on a live video call on morning television in the UK to discuss his poem which had been viewed all over the world by over 18 million people. During the interview, he stressed just how important he believed it was to think about the possibility of good things in the future, especially at the moment. This isn’t the first poem he has written but it is the first time that one has been watched by such a wide audience. The poem was recorded in the form of a child’s bedtime story told to a youngster after the end of the pandemic before being posted on social media.

2020 Pulitzer Prize Winners

This year’s Pulitzer Prizes for letters were awarded yesterday for history, biography, fiction, poetry and general non-fiction. The winners were announced on YouTube.

The winner of the poetry category was The Tradition by Jericho Brown. Talking about the collection the judges said that is was full of masterful lyrics that were a combination of historical urgency and delicacy.

Traditionally, there is just one winner in each category. However, this year the judges were undecided on the winner of the general non-fiction category and decided to award it jointly between two winners.

Eligible works for the 2020 prize were those that were published in 2019.



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