Oh, Giller, you’ve got me writing poems again!



By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis / @zaralibrary

Yesterday, bibliotaphes everywhere rejoiced at receiving the news of the Scotiabank Giller Prize announcement of its book longlist for this year’s much-coveted prize!

Out of 161 books that were submitted for consideration, only 12 works that [most] reflect the boldness, originality and global perspectives that have come to characterize much Canadian writing  were chosen, as described by the five-member jury panel: Lawrence Hill, Jeet HeerKathleen WinterSamantha Harvey, and Alan Warner.

In honour of this year’s longlist titles, I have, yet again, decided to create a poem that uses the actual Giller Prize contending titles in my poem’s content:


Death Valley

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez


The best kind of people:

a stranger

a pillow

the two of us

against the

party wall.


You spoke of


as simply

13 ways of looking

at a fat girl


I thought you meant me—

my longing for


as thin as

Willem de Kooning’s



But you were taken

by my Yiddish

(my Yiddish for

pirates, you said)


Eyn loshn iz keynmol nisht genug.*


It’s better than nothing

my Yiddish..


Do not say we have nothing,

you said


as you pass me

your pillow

—the one that grazes

my leg—


Who is Willem de Kooning?

you ask.


I shrug.

I could say many things:


the best kind of people




my English

is no longer useful

   my Yiddish

is far better


so I answer,

by gaslight…?


you watch me


as my leg

grows fat

before your eyes.


* Yiddish to English Translation: “One language is never enough.”


For more details on this year’s longlist, visit the Scotiabank Giller Prize website and join the conversation on Twitter!


Have you read any of the books listed as this year’s contenders for the Giller Prize? If so, which ones?

Of the twelve books listed, which top three are your favourites in winning the top prize?

Which books did NOT make the cut this year that you would have like to have seen go forward?

Are you influenced in reading or buying a book based on whether or not it is considered as a finalist and/or winner in literary contests especially an annual contest like the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize? Or does it not matter to you?


Happy reading bibliotaphes, until we meet again to find out the news on which of the books of the twelve titles make the shortlist on September 26, 2016!


zara - grey black fedora


Author: zaraalexis

Writer. Bibliotaphe. Fountain Pen & Stationery Addict. Lipstick Junkie. Justice Advocate. Wife. Mother. Warrior.

One thought on “Oh, Giller, you’ve got me writing poems again!”

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