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Eyewear Poetry Prize Winner 2011 Is...

Eyewear would like to congratulate Canadian poet Janet Vickers, whose poem has been selected from the many sent to Irish poet and judge of this year's competition, Barbara Smith. Smith was a recent reader at the Oxfam Spring into Poetry event in London. A first collection, Kairos, was published in 2007. Her work has been shortlisted and awarded prizes, such as at Scotland’s Wigtown Poetry Competition 2009 and the Basil Bunting Award. She is hard at work on the 'dreaded' second collection, forthcoming in 2011.
Barbara Smith, Judge of the 2011 Eyewear Poetry Prize
The winning poem is below.  Smith writes: "t has been a real privilege reading the work of so many varied poets for the Eyewear competition: the styles, the approaches, the wit and humour – all of this and more in the mix. In the final weighing there were quite a few gems that made it into the basket for choosing from, but the one that I felt fitted best – both in terms of the ‘six’ and the blog itself, was ‘The Number Six’. For me, it fitted precisely because it riffed on the number six, it was playful, and had a neat conclusion, bringing us back to Eyewear itself.  Happy sixth birthday, Eyewear, and congratulations to Janet Vickers for summing it all up so well. May the road always rise to meet you."

Janet Vickers was born in Greenford, Middlesex, in 1949. She left England for Canada with her parents and siblings in 1965, settling first near Montreal, then Toronto, Abbotsford, and finally, Gabriola Island, British Columbia. She is publisher of Lipstick Press – a micro press that prints poetry chapbooks.  Her chapbook You Were There (the title poem won the poetry category of the 3rd Annual Vancouver International Writers’ Festival) was published in 2006, and Arcana was published in 2008. Other poems have appeared in sub-Terrain, Grain, Quills, The Antigonish Review, anthologies such as Down in the Valley (Ekstasis), Corporate Watch's This Poem is Sponsored by ...  – and online at Nthposition.

She is currently the BC/Yukon Rep for The League of Canadian Poets.  She has asked that her £6 prize be donated to Oxfam, so I will see that the prize goes in on Monday, July 4th.  Although I had no part in this decision - it was all up to Smith - I am glad to see a Canadian winner announced on Canada Day - pure felicity.

The Number Six

In numerology the number six represents family, responsibility,
the good son, a worried teacher, the burden of sleepless nights
looking for the right phrase— tension blossoming
into a brass door knob or an egg cup.

Six is almost sex but not quite
except for the sixth card of the Tarot
which is the Lovers, the marriage
of interlocking puzzles.

At the age of six a child feels her words
call out to the road she is not permitted
to cross by herself. Put two sixes on their side
together, loops touching, tails farthest apart
and what you have is eye-wear
you can see through.

prize-winning poem by Janet Vickers

Janet Vickers, winner of the 2011 Eyewear Poetry Prize


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