TORONTO — Toronto-born wordsmith Anne Carson picked up the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize on Thursday night for her collection “Red Doc
“If my mom were alive today she would be so happy and my dad would shake hands with me,” said the writer, who teaches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The annual event gives out two $65,000 prizes — one to a Canadian and another to an international poet.
California-based Brenda Hillman won the international award for “Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire” (Wesleyan University Press).
Carson has a slew of other prizes to her name. She was twice a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, received the 1996 Lannan Award and the 1997 Pushcart Prize, both for poetry; and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. In 2001 she received the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry — the first woman to do so.
The other Canadian finalists were Toronto’s Anne Michaels for “Correspondences” (McClelland & Stewart) and Sue Goyette for “Ocean” (Gaspereau Press).
Judges Robert Bringhurst of Canada, C.D. Wright of the U.S. and Jo Shapcott of the U.K. chose this year’s finalists from 539 books submitted from 40 countries.
The Griffin bash is a loose, informal affair. Guests including former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson and Irish writer Colm Toibin noshed on cured salmon salad and veal tenderloin medallions in a spring-themed room decorated with trees at the ceremony in the city’s Distillery District.
Brazilian writer and poet Adelia Prado received this year’s Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award.