Announcing the finalists for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry

Posted on: 17 October, 2020

Category: QWF Awards

Today, we announce the finalists for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry, sponsored by two anonymous donors. It comes with a purse of $3,000.

This year’s jury was composed of poets Katia Grubisic of Montreal, and Ben Ladouceur and Hoa Nguyen, both of Toronto.

The five finalists in the category are:

Oana Avasilichioaei for Eight Track

Published by Talonbooks

From the jury: “Conceptually provocative, this work works across the possibilities of genre.… Often declarative and collective, it does not set out to narrate events but to disrupt or reinterpret narrative so as to represent the dislocation of a central self. It evokes and interrogates in fragments, as echo, so that the disarray is the array – an aural tracing, provocative in thought and sensation using gesture of interrogation, declaration, visual arrangement.”

Simina Banu for POP

Published by Coach House Books

From the jury: “The energy of the poems is that of more than simple assemblage. POP’s forms and modes open to multiple readings through contextual shifts that take place with paratactical gestures and a sense of humor. Concrete poems advance these possibilities including those of tenderness. The effect is rich in emotional correlation and meaning.”

Peter Dubé for The Headless Man

Published by Anvil Press

From the jury: “As a poetico-psychological portrait should, The Headless Man opens up possibilities; the poet has found a way to mine sex, death, loss, self-knowledge, nature, and society…. This is the author as puppeteer, as a maker just involved enough to set his creation moving and then watch, nudge, follow, set free as he moves into the world, toward wholeness and his own, earned, subjectivity.”

stephanie roberts for rushes from the river disappointment

Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press

From the jury: “Roberts speak with clarity and certainty, in a firm and haunting voice. This is an author clearly driven by a need to articulate what is missed. She is unafraid to end a poem abruptly and to let the quiet that follows do some of the speaking. She’s also clearly having fun – with physics, with form, with the second grammar of the line break, and with memories joyous and shocking and neither and both.”

Sarah Wolfson for A Common Name for Everything

Published by Green Writers Press

From the jury: “Wolfson’s debut collection bolts out, at once taut and roomy, leaving or making space for the reader to find or lose themself. The poems tiptoe through careful parcels of image, weaving domestic moments, nature poetry, occasionally almost spiritual meanderings. Wolfson is consciously poetic, but never belabours the moment, and manages to write about love and hunger in a way that embeds them in the concrete, the known.”

Congratulations to all the finalists and their publishers!

Be sure to tune in to QWF’s YouTube page, or visit our website, at 11:00 am every day from October 13-19 to discover the finalists in all of the categories, as they too are announced. Visit the page now and set your reminders!

You can buy copies of the shortlisted works by visiting Paragraphe Bookstore’s website. Paragraphe has a special page dedicated to the QWF Awards finalists with all titles available at a discount.


The winners of this year’s prizes will be announced during a special celebratory video broadcast Gala at on Wednesday, November 4th. Watch the video with the rest of the community as it premieres at 7:00 pm on QWF’s YouTube page.

For those of you who want even more interaction, we invite you to take part in the QWF Red Carpet, taking place in the half hour before the Gala airs. Beginning at 6:30 PM, take a picture of your at-home gala garb and post in on either our Facebook page or on Instagram and Twitter using #QWFGala2020. All who do will be entered into a draw to win a collection of the award-winning books.

Also, immediately following the Gala broadcast, the QWF will be hosting a Zoom After Party. This will give everyone a chance to rub virtual elbows and connect on what would normally be the social event of Quebec’s English-language writing community. Check back to, or QWF’s Facebook page at a later date for the URL.

Let us know you are attending the Gala by RSVPing on Facebook: