We’re delighted to announce that, on December 14th, 2020, Mark Truscott was awarded the inaugural Nelson Ball Prize for his 2018 poetry collection, Branches. Congratulations Mark! The prize—which comes with a commemorative plaque and $1,000, provided by donors from across the country—commemorates Canadian poet, publisher, and bookseller Nelson Ball, and is awarded annually to a publication, by a Canadian poet and published in Canada, that displays “poetry of observation” (a major theme in Ball’s work).
Truscott graciously shared his thoughts about winning the award with us:
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have won a prize established in honour of a poet whose work is central to mine, and to feel that I may have done something small that will contribute to sustaining his legacy. I also feel the prize has come with some weight. I want to make sure my work going forward does justice to my having won this prize in its inaugural year.
I hope that, since Nelson’s work and life celebrate the subtle and sometimes hidden or overlooked, the prize named after him might be taken as encouragement to read widely, deeply, and with an open and curious mind. I’m incredibly honoured to have found myself recognized alongside the short- and longlisted poets. Please, if you haven’t already, read their work. And don’t stop with them. There’s so much great work out there.”
Here’s what the jury, comprised of Beverly Daurio and James McDonald, has to say about Branches:
“The opening lines of Branches—one line per page—are about a line (or is it a branch?). We inch along, searching for definition in the oscillating throw of metaphor: “a branch like a line like a branch”. The desire to know, that exilic quality of the mind, is an old drama, and in Branches, Truscott enacts the wanderings of the mind with single intent, and finds in the poetic line a direction home, a way of going further in the direction of what is to be thought, the direction that goes in both directions simultaneously. This book gives moving testimony of the need for poetry. For this reason, and so many others that you must discover by reading the book, we have chosen Branches by Mark Truscott as the winner of the Nelson Ball Prize for this inaugural year.”
If you haven’t yet read Branches—which we talked about last week on the blog—the collection is 25% off until December 23rd as part of our Holiday Sale.