25th Trillium Award

National Poetry Month kicks off with the Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest

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Evelyn Lau

The Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest is an initiative to encourage and identify promising new poets. A contest supported by Vancouver's Poet Laureate Evelyn Lau and Toronto-based poet Catherine Graham.

From April 1, 2023 to June 1, 2012, the contest invites submissions of original poems from unpublished Canadian writers. Three winners will see their poems published on the contest website and their names listed in the Contests and Awards section of Quill & Quire. They will also benefit from a total of $1,000 worth of private online mentoring sessions with Catherine, the judge of this year's contest.

"By receiving feedback on the poem—strengths and weaknesses, what works/what doesn’t work— mentoring helps a budding poet develop their craft," she says. "Rarely is a poem completed in the first draft. Writing is rewriting. To learn about this process from a more experienced poet, the beginning poet gains confidence in their endeavors. Reading poetry is another form of mentoring; learning from the greats by reading like a writer."

Catherine is the author of four books of poetry. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland and has been frequently anthologized. An interview with the first-prize winner will be published on Allyson Latta's website, "Memoir Writing & More." Latta is a literary editor and instructor for University of Toronto, and the contest's editorial/media adviser.

Heidi Stock is the president of Prospect Research Experts Inc., a grant research and writing firm. In 2011, Heidi created Gift To A Star. It's an initiative that honours remarkable staff and volunteers at Canadian charities with a well-deserved break or new experience through the gift of gift cards. She also created the contest.

"I created the Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest in response to a need to recognize and reward new, promising Canadian poets (those who have never published their poems or prose) with a prize of mentoring sessions, beneficial to our contest winners because of the focused, private instruction they will receive from our contest judge and mentor, poet Catherine Graham," says Heidi.

For more information on the contest, please visit the Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest website.

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