Heaney shortlisted for poetry prize


Seamus Heaney has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize award for his latest collection Human Chain.

Heaney (71) is among the nominees for the international prize, which was won by Cork-born poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanain for her collection The Sun-Fish, last year.

A total of seven collections have been shortlisted for this year's awards, which consist of a Canadian and an international prize.

Established in 2000 in recognition of major poetry written in English as well as works published in translation, the CAN$65,000 (€47,000) Griffin Poetry Prize is one of the most lucrative awards.

This year's judging panel, which includes Irish novelist Colm Toíbín, selected the seven finalists after reading 50 books of poetry, including 20 translations, from poets in 37 countries.

The judges said the poems contained in Human Chain "contain tones and phrases that are perfectly tuned."

"There is an active urge in the rhythms of these poems to capture the living breath of things; sometimes the breath is hushed, and other times wise and resigned in its way of holding rhythms in and then releasing them," the judges said.

This year's winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday, June 1st.

Human Chain, which is Seamus Heaney's 12th poetry collection, was recently awarded the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. It also won Britain's most valuable award, the £10,000 (€11,000) Forward Prize last October and was also shortlisted for the 2010 TS Eliot award.

Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 and also won two Whitbread prizes in 1996 and 1999.

Griffin Poetry Prize finalists

International Shortlist

Human Chain  - Seamus Heaney

Adonis: Selected Poems - Khaled Mattawa, translated from the Arabic written by Adoni

The Book of the Snow - Philip Mosley, translated from the French written by François Jacqmin

Heavenly Questions - Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Canadian Shortlist

Ossuaries - Dionne Brand

The Irrationalist - Suzanne Buffam

Lookout - John Steffler