As a contest partner, the Edmonton Poetry Festival is thrilled to announce Abbigail Ketsa as the winner of the 2023 CLC Poetry Prize!

Abbigail Ketsa


Abbigail Ketsa (she/they) is an emerging settler poet and writer from Edmonton, Alberta. She is finishing a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Alberta. A member of the LGBTQ+ community, they enjoy exploring death, existence, and the universe through poetry. Abbigail is currently participating in the 2023 Roger S. Smith Undergraduate Researcher Award, researching divine monstrosities and “vampires” in ancient Greek magic and religion. They are a recipient of the 2021 Ted and Charlotte Davenport Poetry Prize and the 2021 Darren Zenko Memorial Prize for the non-fiction essay “Step Into the Night,” a feminist telling of a night walk. They have previously worked on poetry’s function as a pedagogy of walking the city. Their prose work on poetry as a medium of exchange for the Italian-Canadian and diaspora experiences, “Cultural Literary Landscapes,” is expected to be published in a 2023 Special Issue of Crossings: An Undergraduate Arts Journal. In her free time, she writes and shares short stories amongst peers and family. Abbigail hopes to forever be a work-in-progress and to share her experiences, strengths, and hope.

Read Abbigail Ketsa’s winning poem below.




(Rural*) Grandmother Alchemy

the Past,
quack grass, grown-up 
through the sidewalk 
cracks, coarse as 
Nana’s beans
left too long on the vine 
cracks, fissuring the palm
from years of dirt toiling in the fields passed Chipman 
dusty disdain for old women who fled
Hunger for new-world hate
where daughters inherit heirloom pain (hunger*) & 
Suns scorch like angry men
                                                     (brittle*) …
sewing flax into cotton &
swallowing fresh-water pearls pulled
from the East* (Grand mother-of-pearl* / milk* / milking*) 
violet blooms under eyes —
heart’s delight &
the leathered hands roll up like holubsti
from making bread in a stolen bread-basket                          (burning* / oven* / baking*) 
as the night suckles the wheat
sprouts fingertips in hungry mouths
                                                     (warm and green*)
Grandmother’s love 
splintering the playground
forgotten in the backfield (schoolyard*) 
where we learn to feed mice to cats & 
cats to coyotes &
writhing in the jaws and 
watering the garden bloody 
before our last harvest;
beige libation                           (oblation*)
turned                                        (spun*)
Gold at twilight