Poetry Contest

Announcing 2019 Poetry London Contest Winning Poets

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our 2019 Poetry Contest judged by Canisia Lubrin. Thanks Canisia for being the judge and to all contestants for submitting a poem!

• 1st Prize: “Recycling Humanity” by Kayla Skinner

Recycling Humanity by Kayla Skinner
The river is almost empty,
just a leaking sponge that has absorbed all of the city’s problems.

Every now and then it coughs up receipts from the people that didn’t have time to make
dinner at home,
spits out syringes from the people that didn’t eat at all.

Yesterday’s meal: a bottle of Olde English and a torn pair of sneakers.
Dessert was a mother trying to stare at her reflection but only a murky silhouette looked
back.

Her child, mirroring her image, tossed crumbs to the ducks that floated along the bank.

His light smile blows away with the breeze realizing his pockets are empty.

Nothing left to give back to the river; nothing left to trade for the stories his mother has
shared,

or so he thought.

Today, an Olde English bottle rests upon a desk, housing an assortment of pens.
Somewhere, a man walks in patched up sneakers and with a pocket full of crumbs.

Read the poem ↓

• 2st Prize: “No Words” by Kelly McConnell

No Words by Kelly McConnell

For my son, age 2

no words
plucked from this infinite keyboard staccato

from the splayed fingers of ink
covering gasps of white pages

can explain the vastness of the ocean
to a tadpole

no way
to chew and swallow the wholeness of absence

the throat-gouging edges of loss
with a mouth tender like moth wings
with teeth just small seeds

alphabet letters planted in the gums
draw in sunlight through his laughter

will it ever be enough
to germinate syllables and symbols

that can twine around his breath
and bear the true weight

of life and death?

Read the poem ↓

• 3st Prize: “Abyss” by Isabella Kennedy

Abyss by Isabella Kennedy

Hidden in the underbelly
of a rotten wharf, my body is dead
weight. My hair, a slimy mess
of rope. My legs, chains
in this stagnant sea.

Your voice crawls
over the broken glass rocks,
over the swollen wood panels, peers
into the dregs of the Pacific
and here I am
a crude mask, face afloat
staring up at the storm.

you whisper into the water:
take off the mask
tell me about it

my ears hear the cloth-stuffed
scream of metal ground against metal—
the handle of my empty pail
hanging from a pillar
like the flag of my depression
half-mast in the wind.

One day you will rise
from this incubation in the mud water
wet like baptism
on the soft tongue of a cracked clam shell

but Sister, I am drowning
in this marina’s mouth. Swallowed,
sinking like sewage
away from the surface
away from the sky
away from you.

I won’t rise from this
abyss.

Read the poem ↓

Announcing 2017 Poetry Contest Winners

Poetry London is pleased to present the winners of the 2017 poetry contest!

The theme:  Canada’s 150th.
The winners:

  • Jack Williams
  • John Fooks
  • Emma Croll-Baehre