2021 Long Poem Prize Winners:
Conor Kerr and Jennifer Still

Congratulations to Conor Kerr and Jennifer Still on winning The Malahat Review's 2021 Long Poem Prize. Both winners will receive an award of CAD $1250, and their poems will be published in our summer 2021 issue #215. We received over 235 entries this year! Thanks again to contest judges Meredith Quartermain, Armand Garnet Ruffo, and John Elizabeth Stintzi.

Of Conor Kerr's poem, "Just Passing Through," the judges said: "'Just Passing Through' deftly situates us in the territory of the great Métis resistance leader Gabriel Dumont. Divided into road trips criss-crossing the western provinces, the poem in its very structure stitches us into Métis history and territory and makes us appreciate the transience of our brief sojourn on earth. These journeys take us movingly through a lifetime of hope and loss and return, more wisely, to a homeland. Along the way we laugh out loud at surprising imagery and humour in the face of pain and despair. The poem rethinks the nature of highway and brings us to feel the enormous wisdom of 'land as extension of our hearts.'"

Of Jennifer Still's poem, "Legs," the judges said: "Intimate, philosophical, experimentally playful, at once accessible and intense, 'Legs' is a poem built on experiential understanding, a poem that writes the body into being from the inside out.  Here the reader finds themselves wrapped in the looping, galloping mind of its breathless speaker, meditating on her body’s relationship to self, to her mother, and on being a mother—on the ceaseless lineage of mothers. A poem whose language is guided by both precision and sonics, 'Legs' asks 'which way is towards the heart?' Grief, pain, anger, happiness, and beauty all mingle as our speaker kicks at the crisis of body consciousness."

Conor KerrConor Kerr is a Métis/Ukrainian educator, writer and harvester. He is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, part of the Edmonton Indigenous community and is descended from the Lac Ste. Anne & Fort Des Prairies Métis communities and the Papaschase Cree Nation. His first books, a poetry collection An Explosion of Feathers and a short story collection Avenue of Champions will be published in 2021.



Jennifer StillJennifer Still explores intersections of language and material forms in her home in Treaty 1 territory (now known as Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada). She is the author of several handmade chapbooks and three poetry books including her latest, Comma (Book*hug 2017), winner of the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry.

Still’s physical poems translate language as light. Her pierced poems have been projected inside The Star Factory Planetarium (University of Manitoba) and installed at The Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and Aceart Inc. (Illuminations, Mentoring Artists for Women in the Arts, 2018). "Legs" is from her current project, an illuminated long-poem manuscript composed with pinholes, a light table, electric typewriter and carbon sheets.


Look for interviews with Conor Kerr and Jennifer Still in our July Malahat lite.


We would also like to congratulate the Long Poem Prize finalists:

C.M. Añonuevo, "dysmorphic tendencies"
David Bergman
, "Dead Sea Scrawls"
John McCarthy
, "The Little Egypt Dive Bar Elegy"
Elizabeth Philips, "Elegy for the Willows"
Isabella Wang
, "Bodies - Parentheses"
Tom Wayman
, "When the Future Wore a Mask"