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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Mori

About Muriel's Journey Poetry Prize

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Muriel Marjorie was a social justice activist, poet, and spoken word artist of Indigenous heritage from the Gitxsan nation's Owl Clan who spent a lot of time in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In her work, she always explored new ways of expressing herself, always talked and wrote about what’s urgent and important. Her energy was like fireworks, and her hugs legendary.

Muriel died in November of 2018. At Muriel’s memorial at the DTES’ Listening Post, someone related that on her last day, Muriel said that while she was leaving, she was still continuing her journey. The text was accompanied by a picture of the sunrise on the day she died. Isabella Mori, a Vancouver writer, was moved by this to do their part in Muriel’s continued journey, and decided to start a poetry prize in Muriel’s honour.

Everyone liked Muriel. She encouraged creative people of all stripes to continue on their path of creativity and social justice, and with Muriel’s Journey poetry prize, we hope to pass on inspiration and strength to all who create with a sense of justice in mind.

Because Muriel always did things a little differently, we’re doing this poetry prize differently, too. We are keenly aware of how subjective the judging of poetry can be; therefore, we give a prize to a poet randomly selected from the longlist of those who met the entry requirement of “lively, outspoken ideas … speak your mind and let the world know what you think … look at your subject in an unexpected way … take a risk in your composition … be frank and unreserved.”

Another change is our “entry fee,” which consists of people showing how they contribute to their community.

Lastly, we have two first prizes, a general one, and one specifically for a poet with close ties to the Downtown Eastside.

Each prize has been commemorated with a chapbook:

2020 Chapbook The 2019 chapbook is not currently available

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