National Poetry Month kicked off with some good news today for Marcus McCann, managing editor of Xtra’s Toronto and Ottawa editions.McCann’s Soft Where, his first full-length collection of poems, has been shortlisted for the 2010 Gerald Lampert Award. The award recognizes the best first book of poetry published by a Canadian in the preceding year. The award carries a $1,000 cash prize.
In an open letter, McCann says he’s grateful for the nomination, and he had a few words for the Harper government:
"Every one of the Lampert-nominated poets has published widely in
Canadian literary magazines,” says McCann. “They are the best place, often the only
place, for young poets to test themselves against their peers. And so,
with the announcement today, I’m also mindful of the changes coming to the Canadian Magazine Fund, instituted by the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper.
"The changes to the CMF will cripple many small magazines and will
likely lead some magazines to fold. I call on the federal government to
restore funding rules that support small magazines to promote emerging
The Lampert award jury described Soft Where as “a hard-hitting cutting-edge poetic exposé of a world filled with experimentation and valour.”