On May Day, the Vancouver-based Jewish Book Festival announced that my 2020 title, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time has been shortlisted for the 2023 Betty Averbach Foundation Prize for Poetry, one of the Western Canada Jewish Book Awards. In contention this year were books published between 2020 and 2022. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony May 24.

Watching a Man Break a Dog's Back - BookCover

Also shortlisted was Leah Horlick’s Moldovan Hotel, a 2021 book based on the author’s 2017 trip to Romania to retrace the steps of her Jewish ancestors. Horlick is currently serving as the 2022-23 Canadian writer-in-residence at the University of Calgary.

Rounding out the shortlist is Tamar Rubin’s Tablet Fragments (2020). She is a Winnipeg pediatric physician, writer, daughter and mother, and her poems touch on all these themes. She currently directs the program in pediatric allergy and immunology at the University of Manitoba. Arc magazine praised how in Tablet Fragments “Hebrew fonts glint and decorate her bilingual text.”

My 2017 title, Helpless Angels, was shortlisted for the Western Canada Jewish Book Awards’ 2020 prize for poetry, although it didn’t win. In 2016, my 2015 collection of Slocan Valley short fiction, The Shadows We Mistake for Love, won the awards’ inaugural fiction prize.