New South Wales poet Mark Tredinnick is the winner of a new international poetry award – the $50,000 Montreal Poetry Prize. Tredinnick’s poem, ‘Walking Underwater’, was selected from over 3,000 entries and read ‘blind’ by a panel of distinguished poets including former UK Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion.
‘Walking Underwater’ was written in 2010 while Tredinnick was visiting Portland, Oregon. Motion describes the ‘big, bold-thinking’ poem as one in which ‘ancient themes (especially the theme of our human relationship with landscape) are re-cast and rekindled’.
Eight poems by Australians were included on the award’s shortlist (including two by Tredinnick). The poems can be viewed (and in some instances, heard) on the Montreal Poetry Prize website.
Canadian publisher Véhicule Press has produced a book comprising all the longlisted titles. Information on the Global Poetry Anthology is available here. And Tredinnick’s website provides detailed information on his winning poem’s background and meaning. He also comments on the site that, as ‘poets live in debt’, winning the prize ‘will go toward paying some of mine down, but it will also ‘finance more of the silence upon which the making of poems depends’.