I’m tickled pink that today I get to tell you that I’m the winner of the Canada Writes Shakespeare Selfie contest, with my poem, “Ophelia, Attending a Garden on the Ground Floor of a Vancouver Apartment Building.” The announcement went live this morning! The judge, Alexi Zentner–whose most recent novel, The Lobster Kings, is a retelling of Cordelia’s story from King Lear–said some really kind things about my poem:
While many writers captured Shakespeare’s language to great success, I felt like this piece captured Ophelia herself while riffing on Shakespeare’s poetics. I was particularly taken with the way she has Ophelia see how nothing can be everything: ‘There doesn’t seem to be any significance to rhododendrons—they just grow well here on the West Coast.’ One of Shakespeare’s gifts was to bestow humanity on all of the characters on the stage, great and small, to understand that no matter how few lines we get to speak, we are always in our own spotlight. I think that’s what the author is doing and that seems to get to the heart of a selfie.
I’m so pleased that my poem has gotten so much attention; it’s strange and lovely to know that people are reading something I wrote. The kind folks at CBC did a short interview with me, too, in which I talk a little bit about my current writing project, my interest in “devoiced” women, and why–out of all the Shakespeare characters–I chose to write from the point of view of Ophelia. You can go ahead and read the entire Q & A!
Congratulations to the winners of the youth (12-18) category, and all my fellow Shakespeareans. It’s been a fun contest!