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Prize Fighters [Canada]:
The prize’s importance goes beyond money, for a couple of reasons. First, placing Canadian poetry alongside work from around the world has raised the international profile of our writers. There’s a worldly feel to the jury, too, since it always consists of a Canadian and two international poets. (Total impartiality is impossible to achieve, but as far as the domestic short list is concerned, this set-up seems less clubby than just drawing from our own talent pool. Besides, we’re always curious about how others see us.)

Second, by staging a gala reading and lavish awards ceremony, the Griffin Prize generates a sense of occasion around an art form that doesn’t often bask in the spotlight. The underlying message is not only that poetry matters to the cultural life of this country — it can also be glamorous. It’s a bit like Cinderella, a drudge no longer, stepping out to the ball.
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