Congratulations Canisia Lubrin, who has won the 2021 Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry! The Windham Campbell Prize was founded in 2013 with a mission to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns.

They had this to say about Canisia’s work:

“Bursting beyond the confines of legibility and the individual, Canisia Lubrin summons up oceans, languages, and the self, the other, and the first-person plural, into a generous baroque project of anti-colonial plenitude.”

Canisia Lubrin is the author of two critically acclaimed collections of poetry: Voodoo Hypothesis (2017) and The Dyzgraphxst (2020). Voodoo Hypothesis, a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award (2018), is a wildly ambitious work of speculative poetics, brilliantly combining physics, philosophy, and pop culture. The book investigates, with a steady eye and deep moral seriousness, state-sanctioned violence against Black individuals and cultures—all while remaining rooted in a vision of Black diasporic aesthetics and imagination. The Dyzgraphxst continues Lubrin’s exploration of Black history and Black futurities. A single long poem that is organized into seven acts or movements, the book feels private in gesture and grand in scale, offering a piercing examination of selfhood and the forces that threaten it: “I was not myself,” a speaker worries, “I am not myself. My self resembles something having nothing to do with me.” 

Born and raised in Saint Lucia, Lubrin studied in Canada, completing a BA at York University and an MFA at the University of Guelph. She teaches creative writing at OCAD University and poetry at the University of Toronto. She is also incoming poetry editor at the literary press McClelland & Stewart and has been a Writer in Residence for Queen’s University and for Poetry In Voice, an organization that sends poets into secondary school classrooms. She lives in Whitby and is represented by Samantha Haywood.