Montreal hosts the 5th annual Poetry In Voice National Finals

Printer-friendly version

March 31, 2015

Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie celebrates its fifth anniversary in Montreal, where 39 high school students from all over Canada will compete in the National Finals on April 20 and 21, 2015.

Founded by Scott Griffin, chairman and founder of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry, the competition aims to promote the art of poetry recitation in both the classroom and the community. The competition begins at the classroom level, and is followed by a school-wide contest, then progresses to Online Semifinals, and concludes with the National Finals. 

“It is my wish to see every student in Canada memorize at least one poem, which will remain with them for the rest of their lives,” says Scott Griffin. In the last year alone, more than 40,000 students have memorized and recited a poem through participation in the competition.

“In this era of the virtual, Poetry In Voice is a rare and remarkable endeavour that makes poems live in the hearts, minds, and bodies of students — and their listeners,” says National Finals judge Stephanie Bolster. “We’re lucky to have it.”
After a day of qualifiers, the top-nine finalists will compete for championship titles before a sold-out audience of Montreal high-school students, teachers, and poetry lovers at the La salle Pierre-Mercure, 300 de Maisonneuve East, Montreal on the morning of April 21. The competition, which will run from 10am to noon, will be hosted by Johanne Blais, of the CBC Radio show “C’est la vie,” and will be livestreamed for classrooms all over Canada. Prizes will be awarded in the English, Bilingual, and French competition streams:

1st prize: $5,000 for the student
$1,000 for the school’s library ($500 reserved for poetry books

2nd prize: $1,000 for the student
$500 for poetry books for the school’s library

3rd prize: $500 for the student
$250 for poetry books for the school’s library 

Joining Stephanie Bolster (A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth; White Stone: The Alice Poems) on the English-language judging panel for the 2015 National Finals are poets Jeramy Dodds (Crabwise to the Hounds and The Poetic Edda), and Sina Queyras (M x T; Expressway; and Lemon Hound).

The French-language judges are poets Rita Mestokosho (Uashtessiu — Lumière d'automne; Née de la pluie et de la terre), Jeanne Painchaud (Le ciel si pâle; Sous nos pas), and Pierre Nepveu (Lignes aériennes, which was published in an English translation by Judith Cowan as Mirabel; La poésie québécoise, des origines à nos jours, an anthology edited with Laurent Mailhot; and La vie d’un homme, the acclaimed biography of influential Quebecois poet Gaston Miron). Pierra Nepveu is also the editor of our French anthology.

While attending the two-day competition, all of the student finalists will be able to attend writing workshops led by poets Éric Charlebois and Damian Rogers, who is also the creative director of Poetry In Voice. Teacher chaperones will have the opportunity to attend a pedagogical workshop led by Liisa House.

About Poetry In Voice:
Poetry In Voice is a national recitation competition, reaching across Canada in English and French, for secondary school and Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) students. By engaging deeply with classic and contemporary examples of English- and French-language poetry through memorization and performance, students make poetry their own.

About The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry:
The Trust was founded in April 2000 by chairman Scott Griffin, along with trustees Margaret Atwood, Carolyn Forché, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson, and David Young. By funding the Griffin Poetry Prize — the world’s largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in, or translated into, English — The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry aims to spark the public’s imagination and raise awareness of the crucial role poetry plays in our cultural life, a mission shared by Poetry In Voice.

Twitter:         @PIV_LVP
Facebook:     Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie
For interview requests, please contact:

Damian Rogers at 416.993.5683