The Atlantic Poetry Prize was established in 1998 through the combined efforts of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, poets, publishers, and post-secondary institutions, who raised funds to annually honour the best book of poetry by an Atlantic Canadian. In 2014, the Award was renamed the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award after the legacy of J.M. Abraham.

Abraham Poetry medallion

One prize is awarded each year for a book of poetry that was written by a full-time resident of Atlantic Canada and published and/or distributed for the first time in Canada in the year prior to the submission deadline. See Submission Guidelines for details.

 


Past Recipients

 

Alison Smith, this kind of thinking does no good (Gaspereau Press) Basma Kavanagh, Ruba’iyat for the Time of Apricots (Frontenac)  Annick MacAskill, No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press)

2019: Alison Smith, this kind of thinking does no good (Gaspereau Press) | Finalists: Basma Kavanagh, Ruba’iyat for the Time of Apricots (Frontenac); Annick MacAskill, No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press)

Jury: Alice Burdick; Georgette LeBlanc; matt robinson

Jury's citation: "this kind of thinking does no good is an unapologetic, tough and expertly driven collection of poems written by poet Alison Smith. Tough—keen observations of life's most difficult circumstances and experiences come to light. Courageous—her sharp wit surprises you out of lethargy and shakes the foundations of what even the best convention has to offer. Her concise observations surprise and delight—all in a book's work.  '... Or is it the skin itself a second brain? /We barely know how feelings think.' In This kind of thinking does no good, Alison Smith writes like no other about everything you shouldn't be saying out loud. Here, feelings think, the skin's vulnerabilities are told. As only Alison Smith’s expertly crafted verse can."

 

Julia McCarthy, All the Names Between (Brick Books) Allan Cooper, Everything We’ve Loved Comes Back to Find Us (Gaspereau Press) Alison Dyer, I’d Write the Sea Like a Parlour Game (Killick Press)

2018: Julia McCarthy, All the Names Between (Brick Books) | Finalists: Allan Cooper, Everything We’ve Loved Comes Back to Find Us (Gaspereau Press); Alison Dyer, I’d Write the Sea Like a Parlour Game (Killick Press)

 

Jennifer Houle, The Back Channels (Signature Editions) Margo Wheaton, The Unlit Path Behind the House (McGill-Queen’s University Press) Patrick Woodcock, You Can’t Bury Them All (ECW Press)

2017: Jennifer Houle, The Back Channels (Signature Editions) | Finalists: Margo Wheaton, The Unlit Path Behind the House (McGill-Queen’s University Press); Patrick Woodcock, You Can’t Bury Them All (ECW Press)

 

Sue Goyette, The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl (Gaspereau Press) Phillip Crymble, Not Even Laughter (Salmon Poetry)  John Wall Barger, The Book of Festus (Palimpsest Press)

2016: Sue Goyette, The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl (Gaspereau Press) | Finalists: Phillip Crymble, Not Even Laughter (Salmon Poetry); John Wall Barger, The Book of Festus (Palimpsest Press)

 

Susan Paddon, Two Tragedies in 429 Breaths (Brick Books) Brian Bartlett, Ringing Here & There: A Nature Calendar (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) Sylvia D. Hamilton, And I Alone Escaped To Tell You (Gaspereau Press)

2015: Susan Paddon, Two Tragedies in 429 Breaths (Brick Books) | Finalists: Brian Bartlett, Ringing Here & There: A Nature Calendar (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) Sylvia D. Hamilton, And I Alone Escaped To Tell You (Gaspereau Press)

 

Don Domanski, Bite Down Little Whisper (Brick Books) Mary Dalton, Hooking (Signal Editions) Sue Goyette, Ocean (Gaspereau Press)

2014: Don Domanski, Bite Down Little Whisper (Brick Books) | Finalists: Mary Dalton, Hooking (Signal Editions); Sue Goyette, Ocean (Gaspereau Press)

 

Lesley Choyce, I’m Alive. I Believe In Everything (Breton Books) Carole Glasser Langille, Church of the Exquisite Panic: The Ophelia Poems (Pedlar Press) George Murray, Whiteout (ECW Press)

2013: Lesley Choyce, I’m Alive. I Believe in Everything. (Breton Books) | Finalists: Carole Glasser Langille, Church of the Exquisite Panic: The Ophelia Poems (Pedlar Press); George Murray, Whiteout (ECW Press)

 

Sue Goyette, outskirts (Brick Books) Warren Heiti, Hydrologos (Pedlar Press) Anne Simpson, Is (McClelland & Stewart)

2012: Sue Goyette, outskirts (Brick Books) | Finalists: Warren Heiti, Hydrologos (Pedlar Press); Anne Simpson, Is (McClelland & Stewart)

 

John Steffler, Lookout (McClelland & Stewart) Douglas Burnet Smith, Learning To Count (Frontenac) Johanna Skibsrud, I Do Not Think That I Could Love A Human Being (Gaspereau Press)

2011: John Steffler, Lookout (McClelland & Stewart) | Finalists: Douglas Burnet Smith, Learning To Count (Frontenac); Johanna Skibsrud, I Do Not Think That I Could Love A Human Being (Gaspereau Press)

 

Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen, Lean-To (Gaspereau Press) Anne Compton, Asking Questions Indoors and Out (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) Zachariah Wells, Track & Trace (Biblioasis)

2010: Tonja Gunvaldsen-Klaassen, Lean-To (Gaspereau Press) | Finalists: Anne Compton, Asking Questions Indoors and Out (Fitzhenry & Whiteside); Zachariah Wells, Track & Trace (Biblioasis)


Brent MacLaine, Shades of Green (Acorn Press) Sue Sinclair, Breaker (Brick) Alan R. Wilson, Sky Atlas (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

2009: Brent MacLaine, Shades of Green (Acorn Press) | Finalists: Sue Sinclair, Breaker (Brick Books); Alan R. Wilson, Sky Atlas (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)


Don Domanski, All Our Wonder Unavenged (Brick Books) George Murray, The Rush to Here (Nightwood Editions) Anne Simpson, Quick (McClelland & Stewart)

2008: Don Domanski, All Our Wonder Unavenged (Brick Books) | Finalists: George Murray, The Rush to Here (Nightwood Editions); Anne Simpson, Quick (McClelland & Stewart)


Steve McOrmond, Primer on the Hereafter (Wolsak & Wynn) Mary Dalton, Red Ledger (Véhicule Press) Peter Sanger, Aiken Drum (Gaspereau Press)

2007: Steve McOrmond, Primer on the Hereafter (Wolsak & Wynn) | Finalists: Mary Dalton, Red Ledger (Véhicule Press); Peter Sanger, Aiken Drum (Gaspereau Press)



Anne Compton, Processional (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) Robin McGrath, Covenant of Salt (Creative Book Publishing) Harry Thurston, A Ship Portrait (Gaspereau Press)

2006: Anne Compton, Processional (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) | Finalists: Robin McGrath, Covenant of Salt (Creative Book Publishing); Harry Thurston, A Ship Portrait (Gaspereau Press)


2005: David Helwig, The Year One (Gaspereau Press) | Finalists: Sue Goyette, Undone (Brick Books); John Smith, Fireflies in the Magnolia Grove (Acorn Press)


Brian Bartlett, Wanting the Day (Goose Lane Editions) Jill MacLean, The Brevity of Red (Signature Editions) Sue Sinclair, Mortal Arguments (Brick Books)

2004: Brian Bartlett, Wanting the Day (Goose Lane Editions) | Finalists: Jill MacLean, The Brevity of Red (Signature Editions); Sue Sinclair, Mortal Arguments (Brick Books)


Anne Compton, Opening the Island (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) Brian Bartlett, The Afterlife of Trees (McGill-Queen’s University Press) Robert Moore, So Rarely in Our Skins (The Muses’ Company)

2003: Anne Compton, Opening the Island (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) | Finalists: Brian Bartlett, The Afterlife of Trees (McGill-Queen’s University Press); Robert Moore, So Rarely in Our Skins (The Muses’ Company)


M. Travis Lane, Keeping Afloat (Guérnica Editions) Herménégilde Chiasson, Conversations (Goose Lane Editions)  Patrick Warner, All Manner of Misunderstanding (Creative Book Publishing)

2002: M. Travis Lane, Keeping Afloat (Guérnica Editions) | Finalists: Herménégilde Chiasson, Conversations (Goose Lane Editions); Patrick Warner, All Manner of Misunderstanding (Creative Book Publishing)

 

Anne Simpson, Light Falls Through You (McClelland & Stewart) Douglas Burnet Smith, The Killed (Wolsak & Wynn) John MacKenzie, Sledgehammer (Polestar/Raincoast)

2001: Anne Simpson, Light Falls Through You (McClelland & Stewart) | Finalists: Douglas Burnet Smith, The Killed (Wolsak & Wynn); John MacKenzie, Sledgehammer and Other Poems (Polestar/Raincoast)


Ken Babstock, Mean (House of Anansi) Herménégilde Chiasson, Climates (Goose Lane Editions)  George Elliott Clarke, Beatrice Chancy (Polestar)

2000: Ken Babstock, Mean (House of Anansi) | Finalists: Herménégilde Chiasson, Climates (Goose Lane Editions); George Elliott Clarke, Beatrice Chancy (Polestar)


John Steffler, That Night We Were Ravenous (McClelland & Stewart) Don Domanski, Parish of the Physic Moon (McClelland & Stewart) Robin McGrath, Escaped Domestics (Creative Book Publishing)

1999: John Steffler, That Night We Were Ravenous (McClelland & Stewart) | Finalists: Don Domanski, Parish of the Physic Moon (McClelland & Stewart); Robin McGrath, Escaped Domestics (Creative Book Publishing)


Carmelita McGrath, To the New World (Killick Press) Carole Glasser Langille, In Cannon Cave (Brick Books)

1998: Carmelita McGrath, To the New World (Killick Press) | Finalist: Carole Glasser Langille, In Cannon Cave (Brick Books)