Congratulations to Tolu Oloruntoba, recipient of the 2022 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize! Tolu will become a Civitella Fellow; we look forward to having him in residence in 2023.

The Griffin Poetry Prize announced the 2022 recipients! Please join us in congratulating the Canadian awardee Tolu Oloruntoba for his collection, The Junta of Happenstance.

Judges’ Citation: “The Junta of Happenstance, Tolu Oloruntoba’s dazzling debut collection, collides the language of revolution with the landscapes of the body. These poems go beyond the desire to ward off death. They emerge out of a life intimate with death’s randomness. Like the vicissitudes of war, Oloruntoba’s poems make peace with accident and fate. They bring breath to survival. ‘If the timeline ahead is/ infinitely longer than the/ knives behind, perhaps/ as we set to mending/ we can heal more/ than we ever undid./ But we, too,/ would like a piece of the plunder.’ These exquisite poems leave an imprint both violent and terrifyingly beautiful.”

Judges Adam Dickinson (Canada), Valzhyna Mort (Belarus, Incoming Writing Fellow 2023), and Claudia Rankine (Jamaica/US) each read 639 books of poetry, including 57 translations from 24 languages, submitted by 236 publishers from 16 different countries. The trustees of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry select the judges annually.