Vancouver poet in the running for the Griffin Prize with a book about Black womanhood


By Stephen Weir

Chantal Gibson

Chantal Gibson, a Vancouver-based poet with deep roots in Nova Scotia’s Black community, has been shortlisted for the$65,000 Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Prize.

How She Read , her debut book of poetry, is a collection of genre-blurring poems about the representation of Black women, their hearts, minds and bodies, across the Canadian cultural imagination.

Using genre-bending dialogue poems and dramatic, descriptions, Gibson reveals the dehumanizing effects of

Chantal Gibson book

mystifying and simplifying images of Blackness.

Gibson is one of three Canadian authors in the running for the

Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Prize. She is up against Kaie Kellough’s Magnetic  Equator and Doyali Islam’s Heft.

In addition to the Canadian Poetry Award, the Griffith also awards $65,000 to the best International poetry book. In the running for the international prize are: Sharon Olds’s Arias, Abigail Chabitnoy’s How to Dress a Fish, Sarah Riggs’s Time and Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s Lima: Limón.

The two big winners, will be announced using the Griffin’s social media channels on Tuesday, May 19, the winners will each be awarded $65,000. The other finalists – 3 International, and 2 Canadian, will be awarded $10,000.