Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto's David W. McFadden Wins $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize at Gala

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto's David W. McFadden Wins $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize at Gala

Article excerpt

Toronto's McFadden wins $65,000 Griffin Prize


TORONTO - Toronto's David W. McFadden appeared utterly shocked to win the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize on Thursday night, thanking his daughter Jennifer for being "such a wonderful person" and providing inspiration for his collection.

McFadden's "What's the Score?" (Mansfield Press) was named the winner of the lucrative accolade at a gala attended by literary luminaries including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Susan Swan and Michael Winter.

"I can't talk, I'm sorry, but I can read," said a tongue-tied McFadden as he referred to a prepared speech in which he also thanked the prize creators, his family and his editor and publisher.

"I didn't expect this. I didn't know what I was doing up there," he said with a laugh in an interview after receiving the prize.

"All I know is that I feel sorry for all the great poets that haven't had this experience."

The author of 35 books of poetry, fiction and travel writing, McFadden started publishing poetry in 1958 and has been previously shortlisted for the 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize, as well as for three Governor General's Awards.

In their citation of "What's the Score?" the judges said: "With their arch yet affable tone, these ninety-nine irreverent and mock-earnest poems lay siege to the feelings of boredom, anxiety, and alienation that afflict a culture obsessed with wealth and prestige, leading us, again and again, down the road of excess to the palace of wisdom."

Meanwhile, "Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems" (Yale University Press), by Ramallah-based Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan and translated from Arabic by Fady Joudah of Houston, won $65,000 for the international Griffin honour. Zaqtan has written 10 poetry collections while Joudah is an internal medicine doctor as well as a translator and poet himself.

Speaking in Arabic translated by Joudah, Zaqtan thanked his fellow nominees, the prize creators, his poet father and his mother, "who was essentially the librarian of the house."

He and Joudah also thanked late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who published Zaqtan's work in a magazine that caught the translator's attention. …

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