June 15th, 2024

‘Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence’ wins Griffin Poetry Prize

By The Canadian Press on June 5, 2024.

The $130,000 Griffin Poetry Prize is set to be handed out tonight. Newfoundland-based poet Don McKay, shown in an undated handout photo, will receive this year's $25,000 Lifetime Recognition Award. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Marlene Creates, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

TORONTO – “Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence,” written in Spanish by Homero Aridjis and translated into English by Irish-Canadian writer George McWhirter, has won the Griffin Poetry Prize.

The $130,000 award was announced at a ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday, though Aridjis was not able to attend after undergoing medical treatments.

Jurors praised the collection, which uses mythical imagery to examine emotional realities, for presenting “a rounded human being engaged with our total experience.”

McWhirter, who was Vancouver’s first poet laureate from 2007 to 2009, is the former head of the creative writing department at the University of British Columbia.

Aridjis is president emeritus of PEN International, a writers association.

He also served as Mexico’s ambassador to Switzerland, the Netherlands and UNESCO.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2024.

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