Second annual Poetry In Voice competition announces distinguished judging panel and host

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Toronto, ON – Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie today announced a prestigious judging panel of some of Canada’s leading poets for year two of its annual poetry recitation competition. Hosted by Albert Schultz, founding artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre Company, Poetry In Voice will award more than $10,000 in prizes and school stipends to the winners and their school libraries. Founded by Scott Griffin, the competition aims to promote the art of poetry recitation in both the classroom and the community.
Winners of the Ontario and Quebec Provincial Finals will recite poems from memory before a large audience of poetry lovers at the Grand Finals in Toronto at the Isabel Bader Theatre on Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m.
The 2012 judges are:

  • Gaston Bellemare: Former professor at l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Bellemare has been an advocate for poetry in Quebec and internationally for more than 40 years. Bellemare played key roles in the founding of many initiatives, including the international poetry publishing house Écrits des Forges, the Festival International de la Poésie in Trois-Rivières, and the Fédération des festivals internationaux de la poésie. In 2007, Bellemare was awarded the Prix du Québec Georges-Émile Lapalme in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the quality and outreach of written and spoken French in Quebec.”  

  • Dionne Brand: A Canadian poet, novelist and essayist, Brand’s poetry collections include Ossuaries, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize; Land to Light On, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and the Trillium Book Award; Thirsty, winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize; and Inventory, a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. In 2006, Brand was awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize. In 2009, she was named Toronto’s Poet Laureate.

  • Nicole Brossard: A poet and author, Brossard has published more than 30 books, including Mauve Desert, The Aerial Letter, and Notebook of Roses and Civilization, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Twice awarded the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, Brossard co-founded the literary periodical La Barre du Jour and the feminist journal Les Têtes de Pioche, and collaborated on Des origines à nos jours, an anthology of women’s poetry from Quebec. Additional awards include the Prix Athanase-David — Quebec’s highest literary distinction — and the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. An English translation of her most recent poetry collection, Piano blanc, will be published in 2013. 

  • Dennis Lee: Lee is the author of more than 20 books for adults and children, including Civil Elegies, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and the classic children’s book Alligator Pie. One of the founders of House of Anansi Press, Lee was named Toronto’s first Poet Laureate in 2003. His most recent poetry collection, Testament, came out this spring from House of Anansi.

  • Pierre Nepveu: Born in Montreal in 1946, Nepveu taught literature at l’Université de Montréal for 30 years. Poet, novelist, and essay writer, Nepveu has published over a dozen books and collections of poetry, two of which earned the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. He is a co-author of La poésie québécoise, des origines à nos jours, a much-loved Quebec poetry  anthology. Since 2000, Nepveu has collected the scattered works of poet Gaston Miron, publishing three volumes of those works, as well as a celebrated Miron biography, La vie d’un homme.

  • Karen Solie: Born in Moose Jaw and raised in southwest Saskatchewan, Solie’s first collection of poems, Short Haul Engine, won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize. Her second, Modern and Normal, was shortlisted for a Trillium Award for Poetry. Her third, Pigeon, won the Pat Lowther Award, the Trillium Award for Poetry and the Griffin Poetry Prize. Solie teaches at UBC’s Creative Writing Program and is an associate director for the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio.

About Poetry In Voice:
Poetry In Voice is a bilingual poetry recitation competition 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. The competition will extend its reach across Canada in 2013.
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.


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Facebook:      Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie
For interview requests, please contact:
Christina Walters-Arseneau, rock-it promotions, inc., at 416.656.0707 ext.107 
Debra Goldblatt, rock-it promotions, inc., at 416.656.0707 ext.101