Poetry Contest

Announcing Poetry London’s 2020 Poetry Contest Winners

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our 2020 Open Theme Poetry Contest judged by Lucas Crawford. Thanks to Lucas for being the judge and to all contestants for submitting a poem.

• 1st Prize: “The oldest photograph of” by Brian Baker

The oldest photograph of

nature (not some experiment in a dank, darkened room) was by
Niépce and his camera obscura, unroofed high above Le Gras.
Thickly stippled and angled rooftops, shimmering blue on the
bitumen-coated plate.

a person, on the Boulevard du Temple, his image on daugerrotype,
phantoms all around. None of them stopped, though, long enough
to get their boots cleaned, or lean up against a Parisian lamppost.
But he did, and was then so perfect in time and space that
he became a foundling, risen up through fumes of heated mercury.

a hoax, bombastic as it was, perpetuated by Bayard and his “Self Portrait As A
Drowned Man”. Tricked by Daugerre, his Academie honours stolen, he
shows his enemies that he has surely drowned himself because of it,
can you not see the state of decay?

people drinking, around the table. Hill, Ballantine and Bell. Three men, lost in
their Edinburgh ale, a drink so “potent” that Ballantine has made Hill laugh. They
are scoundrels.

the sun and the moon, unassisted, posing in the sky, no need for the head brace,
no need for them to keep their eyes open (so there would be
no flutter). The only concerns were errant light, beams which strayed
from exposure. That and clouds, relentlessly shadowing.

me, as a young boy, grinning out from the top bunk, in a cabin on the Bow. The
tobacco-stained hands of my Grandpa at the table. The battered straw hat his
friend wore. Before all that, I was just a baby. They were fading then (and are
even more faded now) but there are scars on my head, from an operation I survived,
so that I could be in a cabin on the Bow with my Grandpa and his friend and still
look at that photograph today.

the separation of binary stars is what we saw for the first time but always knew
was there. Stars so closely aligned that they appeared as one. Getting us there, though, a
Burgundy skyline begets Parisian shoeshine begets an un-drowned man begets the sun and
moon begetting a young boy, smiling, which begets stars with a shared barycenter and
stellar winds. Yes, the stars have winds!

Read ↓

• 2nd Prize: “Susan Gilbert” by Gabrielle Drolet

Susan Gilbert

possible, but not yet realized —
love like a myth, elliptical.
the letters

revealed little, as did the poems.
when Dickinson said
I have one prayer only;
dear Susie,
that is for you,

who knows what she meant.​ next-door

neighbors, friends, companions,
sisters-in-law. sharp-sighted observers who imagined
their escapes. to make the abstract tangible

is a double-edged sword. there is such a thing
as too much
freedom. to make

the abstract tangible is to touch
without thinking;
to run a hand
through her hair, to run
a hand across her neck, to kiss
the place
under her chin.

Read ↓

• 3rd Prize: “O” by Megan Silva


                 I draw circles around your name.
         I draw circles. I                draw circles around
          your name and                      my name. I draw lines
   through our circles                        and your name and
  my name - but there                          are still circles around
     your name and my                          name. Still circles, circling
round, circling around                        your name. Circling
  around, till there are                     no names, only circles.
      Circling around, and                around, and around, where
                there were once two names in a circle.

Read ↓


Poetry London 2020 Open Theme Contest

***DEADLINE EXTENDED!*** March 15th, 2020

Poetry London Poetry Contest 2020
Poetry Contest 2020

Submit your best work to Poetry London’s 2020 Open Theme poetry contest, judged by acclaimed Canadian poet Lucas Crawford! Contest entries must be one poem of no more than 40 lines, on any topic, in any style; only submit original work that has not been previously published in print or online.

Send poems in PDF format by email only to poetrylondon.contest@gmail.com. Please include your name, your complete contact information (including mailing address) and the title of your poem in the body of the email. Judging will be anonymous. Do not include your name in the PDF file with your poem. You must be a resident of (or attending school in) London and surrounding area to enter. Winners will be announced in early April 2020 (only winners will be contacted).

  • First Prize is $100
  • Second Prize is $75
  • Third Prize is $50

The winning poets will have their work published on Poetry London’s website and will be invited to read their poems at our April 22nd event, ahead of the feature readers.

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

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

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

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