2019 Poetry In Voice Competition Announces 24 Semifinalists from Across Canada

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For immediate release – 10 am EDT, March 20, 2019

Poetry as performance art hits Winnipeg as talented students from Grades 9-12, chosen from over 10,000 participants in school competitions and online video submissions, gather for the National Finals.


WINNIPEG, MB – Poetry In Voice announces the 24 Semifinalists in its high school recitation contest, chosen from over 10,000 students from 1,400 schools across the country. The talented Grade 9-12 reciters will compete for $25,000 in total prize money for themselves and their school libraries in an exciting, poetic evening at the National Finals Show, on Thurs, April 25TH at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.


First launched in 2010, with students from 12 schools in Ontario to foster a love of poetry, this ninth year of the contest will feature the top-scoring students from over 1,400 schools across the country.


The Semifinalists are:


English Stream                                                          

Cyrena Fiel, Etobicoke School of the Arts, Etobicoke, ON                            

Berry Genge, Montague Regional High School, Montague, PE                                           

Catricia Hiebert, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Sexsmith, AB             

Mackenzie Hutchinson, Prince of Wales Secondary School, Vancouver, BC                     

Chandra Miller, Dr. Charles Best Secondary School, Coquitlam, BC                                  

Nawal Semir, Glenlawn Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB                                       

Clara Sismondo, Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute, Kingston, ON                        

Nina Thach, Kildonan East Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB                                             

Sophia Wilcott, Harbour View High School, Saint John, NB                                    

Irene Zhang, Fraser Heights Secondary School, Surrey, BC                                   

William Zhang, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, ON                                    

Matthew Zhou, London Central Secondary School, London, ON                            


Bilingual Stream

Ghada Charki, Champlain Regional College – Saint Lambert, Saint-Lambert, QC

Troy Cheah, Dr. Charles Best Secondary School, Coquitlam, BC

Peniel Negre, All Saints High School, Calgary, AB

Jenny Wang, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Montréal, QC

Keagan Yap, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Windsor, ON       

Anna Yaung, Assumption College Catholic Secondary School, Windsor, ON


French Stream

Aksa Caleb, Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau, QC

Aimee-Larissa Dushime, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Windsor, ON

Mathilde Eustache, Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC

Nahida Mohamadou Kingui, Lycée Louis Pasteur School, Calgary, AB

Laure Poitras, Cégep du Vieux Montréal, Montréal, QC

Perlina Ross-Brown, Collège Jean-Eudes, Montréal, QC


“Since we launched in 2010, the poems on our site have been read over 15 MILLION times. Over 300,000 students have learned a poem by heart,” enthuses David Smith, Director of Poetry In Voice. “Our mission is to help create a new generation of poetry lovers, and we’re succeeding.”


Over the Finals Week in Winnipeg, the students will compete in French, English, or Bilingual Semifinals, as well as participate in a workshop at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, an open mic night and “The Epic Winnipeg Poetry Hunt,” wherein teams of the Semifinalists will tour the city in a unique, bilingual poetry-themed scavenger hunt.


The Poetry In Voice National Finals Show is a highlight of the spring literary calendar – a massive, exuberant, and bilingual celebration of poetry and performance. This year’s event will be hosted by CBC Radio’s Rosanna Deerchild and J.R. Léveillé and features an all-star jury of poets: Katherena Vermette, Jason Stefanik, Cecily Nicholson, Pierre Nepveu, Lise Gaboury-Diallo and Michaël Trahan. The top nine students will compete for the title of English, French, or Bilingual Champion.


 “These students stand fearlessly in front of a packed theatre that goes completely quiet as they lift poems off the page. How many adults could do that? It’s a refreshing, inspiring night for all of us,” says Smith.


Poet Phoebe Wang, who has been a judge for Poetry in Voice, recalls how informative poetry was in shaping her own identity as a teenager. “Poetry is for that quiet rebel,” she says. “When you are reading there is something that is a bit subversive about it.”


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Event Listing:

Poetry In Voice National Finals Show

Thursday, April 25th at 7:00pm

Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Blvd., Winnipeg, MB

During this captivating evening that celebrates the power of poetry, nine contest finalists from across Canada will recite poetry for the chance to win more than $25,000 in prizes. Hosted by CBC personality Rosanna Deerchild and writer/broadcaster J.R. Léveillé.

Tickets: $10/$5 teachers, students, seniors and poets from poetryinvoice.com/2019


For all media enquiries, including interviews with the Semifinalists or

Poetry In Voice Director, David Smith, contact:


Rorie Bruce, rorbruce@mts.net; C: (204) 781-1769


Sheila Kay, sheilakay814@outlook.com; C: (647) 391-9829


Rachel Arsenault, rachel@lesvoixdelapoesie.com; C: (438) 820-2375



About Poetry In Voice –

Founded by Scott Griffin, chairman and founder of the illustrious Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry, Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie is a registered charity that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, recitation and writing. In addition to running two nationwide student recitation competitions and eight regional competitions, the organization also provides an anthology of classic and contemporary poems, comprehensive teaching materials, and poet visits to schools at no cost to schools or teachers.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.


About Canada Council for the Arts –

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.