Open letter on the announcement of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award nominations:

I am grateful for the opportunity presented by the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the League of Canadian Poets. As a prize associated with a first book, it goes a long way to nurturing emerging writers. The shortlist putsme in fantastic company with Robert Earl Stewart, Marguerite Pigeon, Soraya Peerbaye, James Langer and Kate Hall.

Every one of the Lampert-nominated poets has published widely in Canadian literary magazines. They are the best place, often the only place, for young poets to test themselves against their peers. And so, with the announcement today, I’m also mindful of the changes coming to the Canadian Magazine Fund, instituted by the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper.

The changes to the CMF will cripple many small magazines and will likely lead some magazines to fold. I call on the federal government to restore funding rules that support small magazines to promote emerging writers.

Happy National Poetry Month.

Marcus McCann

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Jury citation for Soft Where:

Soft Where by Marcus McCann is a hard-hitting cutting edge poetic expose of a world filled with experimentation and valour. This stunning book explores the possibilities of bringing image to life, written in the language of the people and soaked in a heart of sapphire. The jury was intoxicated by this book, and feels this young writer should be encouraged in every and all ways—to the full extent of poetic promise. The language in Soft Where is as stark and meaningful as the images which express a lifestyle hard-lived and yet as delicate as an origami bird.

More at poets.ca

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