I t’s true, David W. McFadden is on the very short list for this year’s Griffin Poetry Prize for What’s the Score? and we couldn’t be happier!

Dave was previously shortlisted for the Griffin in 2008 for Why Are You So Sad? Selected Poems of David W. McFadden, published by our friends at Insomniac Press. In 2009 his Mansfield title Be Calm, Honey was up for a Governor General’s Award (his third appearance on the shortlist!) — and now this. What these three titles share, besides Dave’s incomparable poetry, is Mansfield’s very own Stuart Ross, who served as editor for all three books. So congrats to Dave and Stuart on the rare three-book hat trick of shortlistings.


Here’s what the Griffin Judges’ Citation had to say:

“‘If the fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise,’ advised William Blake in his Proverbs of Hell. As if whispering through the ages into the ear of Canada’s deadpan court jester, Blake’s radical spirit slyly presides over David McFadden’s exuberant thirty-fifth publication, What’s The Score? 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. ‘My poems go leaping from crag to crag,’ McFadden boasts in one poem, before quickly, and characteristically, scuttling this Romantic image of the egotistical sublime ‘like a stubble-faced crybaby, it’s probably / because I’ve been writing for so long, / forty years of poems to various friends.’ The easy, casual intimacy of these poems will befriend you on the first page. Their astonishing leaps and their genuine philosophical urgency will compel you to keep reading. ‘Stick around,’ invites this artful and knowing wise fool, ‘everyone should have a chorus / following his steps and reminding him / of his central role in some great dream.’” – Suzanne Buffam

The 2013 Griffin winners will be announced on June 13.

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