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Doyali Islam is a 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize finalist, 2020 Trillium Book Award for Poetry finalist, and 2020 Pat Lowther Memorial Award finalist for her poetry book heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019). Doyali has participated in CBC Books’ Why I Write video-interview series. She has discussed the value of silence on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition; language, form, beauty, and empathy with Anne Michaels in CV2; and the relationship between poetry and the body on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter. More recently, she dove deeply into heft through Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre Podcast (Episode 14). Doyali spent a few years in North Bay, Ontario, and is a former Poetry Editor of Ottawa’s Arc Poetry Magazine. Of Bangladeshi and Arab ancestry, she lives in Toronto, Canada.

heft

McClelland & Stewart
2020 Shortlist
Canada

Judges’ Citation

Laid out against the horizontal landscape of the page, from the very beginning these poems demand from the reader a reorientation, and set out a goal to teach us how to read differently – not only the poems but also the world.

Laid out against the horizontal landscape of the page, from the very beginning these poems demand from the reader a reorientation, and set out a goal to teach us how to read differently – not only the poems but also the world. What is beautiful and successful here is the way Doyali Islam takes small moments and gives to them an incredible, sometimes aching, heft: the ephemera left in a pocket become a map leading us back to love; an ant observed on the floor finds its way onto a white page – a black mark effectively writing its own poem, ‘struggling to interpret its situation’. In each of these poems, Islam makes that struggle for interpretation both wonderful and worthwhile.


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