TORONTO, ON, Thursday, April 19, 2018 – Nine students from across Canada have won $25,000 as finalists of the 2018 Poetry In Voice competition. The successful secondary school and Cégep students were selected during the National Finals Awards Show tonight. A gala celebration of poetry, the show was hosted by CBC’s Gillian Deacon, and the students’ performances were judged by an esteemed panel of poets, including Liz Howard, Canisia Lubrin and Matt Rader.
The audience included Dionne Brand, Anne Michaels, Lorna Crozier, Susan Swann, Florence Richler and John Ralston Saul. “Poetry In Voice is an astonishing tribute to poetry -- one of the greatest ideas to emerge in the world of literature in Canada in recent years! I salute this superb initiative and wish we could carry it out all over the world!” said former Governor General, the Rt. Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, who was also in attendance.
More than 1,300 Canadian schools registered for the program this year. Over 10,000 students learned a poem by heart. The top-scoring students advanced to the Online Semifinals, then the 24 finalists were flown to Toronto to compete in the English, Bilingual, or French Qualifiers.
The nine student winners are:
English Prize Stream
Hamish Marissen-Clark won the first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for the library of St. George’s School in Vancouver, British Columbia (with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books) for the best combined score of three recitations in English. (centre)
Gabrielle Nebrida-Pépin won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville in
Pujita Verma won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of Glenforest Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario for the purchase of poetry books. (right)
Bilingual Prize Stream
Brittany Huellas-Bruskiewicz won the first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for the library of École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville in
Olivia Torralbo won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of The Sacred Heart School of Montreal in Montréal, Quebec for the purchase of poetry books. (left)
John Wood won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of Toronto French School in Toronto, Ontario for the purchase of poetry books. (right)
French Prize Stream
Charlie Rivard won the first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for the library of Cégep de Saint-Laurent in Montréal, Quebec (with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books) for the best combined score of three recitations in French. (centre)
Jeanne Cantin won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of Collège François-de-Laval in Quebec City, Quebec for the purchase of poetry books. (left)
Alice Blouin-Décoste won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine in Lachine, Quebec for the purchase of poetry books. (right)
In addition to competing in the recitation contest, these students participated in poetic activities like a bilingual, city-wide poetry scavenger hunt called The Epic Toronto Poetry Showdown and the Poet Cabaret, an open mic night where finalists and even teachers shared the stage with some of the brightest names in Canadian poetry today.
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 charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing and recitation. In addition to running a nationwide student recitation competition, the organization also provides an anthology of classic and contemporary poems, comprehensive teaching materials, and the new Poet In Your Class program, where a network of over 70 poets is sent to classrooms across Canada, all at no cost to schools or teachers. Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Media Sponsor: CBC Books
English Stream (l to r): Gabrielle Nebrida-Pépin; Hamish Marissen-Clark; Pujita Verma
Bilingual Stream (l to r): Olivia Torralbo; Brittany Huellas-Bruskiewicz; John Wood
French Stream (l to r): Jeanne Cantin; Charlie Rivard; Alice Blouin-Décoste