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2020 GGs Finalists for Poetry and Drama

By kileyturner
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Poetry and drama are two of the categories for the Governor General's Literary Awards.
Eight Track

Eight Track

edition:Paperback

Poet and intermedia artist Oana Avasilichioaei’s Eight Track is a transliterary exploration of traces. Sound recordings, surveillance cameras, desert geoglyphs, drone operators, refugee interviews, animal imprints, and audio signals manifest moments of inspired wonder, systems of power, slippages, debris. In “the great era of seeing” when the boundary between tracking agent and monitored subject is worn thin by politics and commerce, Eight Track assembles a set of discordant melodies, poly …

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Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
tagged : women authors

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is a meditation on the destabilizing and destructive power of beauty, drawing together Helen of Troy and Marilyn Monroe, twin avatars of female fascination separated by millennia but united in mythopoeic force. Norma Jeane Baker was staged in the spring of 2019 at The Shed’s Griffin Theater in New York, starring actor Ben Whishaw and soprano Renée Fleming and directed by Katie Mitchell.

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Orrery

Orrery

Poems
edition:Paperback

Orrery is a collection that orbits around the theme of Pioneer 10, an American space probe launched in 1972 to study Jupiter’s moons. Having achieved many firsts before reaching Jupiter and a few more after being hurled away from the solar system, the probe was retired in 2003 when NASA stopped sending signals to it, leaving it to wander alone through deep space.

On a trajectory that may long outlast Earth, Pioneer has transformed from a finite object into an infinite one, a muddling of the mun …

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Render

Render

edition:Paperback

Governor General's Literary Award finalist

Searing, intimate poems that render a history of trauma, addiction, and recovery through dreams and waking experience.

Render (v.tr.): to submit, as for consideration; to give or make available; to give what is due or owed; to give in return, or retribution; to surrender; to yield. To represent; to perform an interpretation of; to arrange. To express in another language or form; to translate. To deliver or pronounce formally; to cause to become; to reduce …

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The Dyzgraphxst

The Dyzgraphxst

edition:Paperback

Windham-Campbell Prize, Winner
OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, Winner
OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Poetry, Winner
Griffin Poetry Prize, Finalist
Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry, Finalist
Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Reader’s Awards, Finalist
Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry, Finalist
Raymond Souster Award, Longlist
Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Longlist
Quill & Quire 2020 Books of the Year: Editor’s Picks
CBC Best Canadian Poetry of 2020
Winnipeg Free Press Top 1 …

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Excerpt

in an infinite series where we approach each oth’r
Jejune, forked in some road that might have
cropped up anyhow to cross us barely ready

or were we unaware that we had cracked I
to save us, split us three ways
as the centuries that made us possible left us

with all possible comprises, we have this one
existence, this so many elsewheres, in others,
I, and in every elsewhere, us both

and so you have arrived, Jejune, and so I
in a million pictures of our face, and still
I was not myself, i am not myself, myself

resembles something having nothing to do
with me and the idea that I would like
a holiday, a whole lifetime from this bend

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bug

bug

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian

bug is a solo performance and artistic ceremony that highlights the ongoing effects of colonialism and intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous women, as well as a testimony to the women's resilience and strength. The Girl traces her life from surviving the foster care system to her struggles with addictions. She fights, hoping to break the cycle in order to give her daughter a different life than the one she had. The Mother sits in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, recounting memories of …

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Excerpt

Drum beat

Ancestors move through time and presence themselves

Conjuring our story

The ancestors dance -- a tree grows and dies and grows and dies and continues to cycle

An elder speaks:

What you don't understand is

Where it came from

You don't understand why

The root

That grew into a tree of poison and self-loathing

What you don't understand is

How difficult it is to navigate the branches

When everyone wants to cut down the tree

The tree is sick

What you don't understand

Is that the tree is sick

The poison cycled so much

It became embedded

Into our bark

Sickness was planted in us

And we

We are trying to get well

Everything is heavier

Harder

What you don't understand

Is that trauma

Set us up to fail

Like the policies

That failed

What you don't understand is

How resilient we are

What you don't understand is

How important it is that we live

Keep living

Despite the poison of trauma that runs in our veins

The tree may be sick

But our ancestors are lush green leaves

That continue to give us life

THE GIRL is born in this cycle and speaks from within it

She is here because of the strength of her ancestors

 

Breath.

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Guarded Girls

Guarded Girls

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

The stories and experiences of three imprisoned women and a guard intertwine in dramatic and dangerous ways, as the psychological destruction that is solitary confinement taunts each of their lives.

Nineteen-year-old Sid is transferred to a new prison, finding friendship with her cellmate Brit, but she also forms a complicated relationship with a guard who seems to be watching their every move. In another time, an older inmate named Kit talks to an unseen audience about a coming visitor and how s …

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Excerpt

Brit: Did you think it would be like TV?

Sid: Here?

Brit: Yeah.

Sid: I don’t remember.

Silence.

The Guard comes in and begins her search. Sid sees her and stands up.

Hi.

Guard: What are you after?

Sid: Nothing, just a hello.

The Guard laughs, yeah right.

Guard: Okay.

Sid laughs, imitating the Guard.

The Guard shakes her head.

Sid shakes her head.

That’s enough.

Guard moves away.

Sid speaks softly to herself:

Sid: What are you after?

Sid walks the length of her pod imitating the exact same walk as the Guard. The Guard sees something hidden somewhere on the stage. A tampon. She bags it and exits.

Brit: I need more tampooooooons.

Sid: I know.

Silence.

Brit: It’s really making me panic.

Sid: You got an extra pad?

Brit: No. And I really can’t handle not having another tampon right now. Like, it’s really making me—?

Sid: Hey, it’s okay—?

Brit: No. Like, I’ve been wearing it for like ten hours and I really can’t handle not having another tampon—?

Sid: I’ll try and get you another one.

Brit: I’m really—?

Sid: I know.

Silence.

Brit: Really, I can’t handle this.

Sid: I’m going to try, on the next round.

Brit: ’Cause I’m picturing it and—?

Sid: Shhh. It’s okay—?

Brit: I can’t—?I can’t—?

Sid changes.

Sid: I hate jam. It’s gooey and stupid.

Brit takes a deep breath and tries to listen.

But now, I miss jam. I miss having the option; I mean every morning I think about jam—?how . . . stupid is that?—?

Brit: I really need a new tampon. I can’t stop picturing—?

Sid: I know.

Brit starts moaning.

Fucking hell. Hello. We need a tampon. Hello!

Sid sees the Guard.

She needs another tampon. Yes. She does—?

Guard: You think this is a hotel?

Sid: Please.

Guard: You think you can make demands?

Sid: She needs it.

Guard: Don’t talk / back—?

Sid: I’m not talking back. She needs another tampon. Please—?

Guard: In what world is this / my problem?

Sid: Why are you being an asshole?

Guard: Careful.

Sid: Fuck you.

The Guard grabs her.

Fuck. Ouch. You’re hurting me now. No. No. No. Don’t! Just give her.

Sid spits in the Guard’s face.

Brit: No!

The Guard takes Sid away. Brit sits alone. Time passes; she waits. Brit closes her eyes. The Guard begins her search, and finds a calculator hidden somewhere on the stage. She bags it, but then sees something else, a soother. She bags it as well and exits.

A fragile Sid comes back into the pod and sits. Brit opens her eyes and listens.

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Kamloopa

Kamloopa

An Indigenous Matriarch Story
edition:Paperback

TIME: All.
SPACE: The Multiverse.
Come along for the ride to Kamloopa, the largest Powwow on the West Coast. This high-energy Indigenous matriarchal story follows two urban Indigenous sisters and a lawless Trickster who face our world head-on as they come to terms with what it means to honour who they are and where they come from. But how to go about discovering yourself when Christopher Columbus allegedly already did that? Bear witness to the courage of these women as they turn to their Ances …

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