WINNIPEG, MB, Thursday, April 25, 2019 – Nine students from across Canada have won $25,000 as finalists of the 2019 Poetry In Voice competition. The successful secondary school and Cégep students were selected during the National Finals tonight. A gala celebration of poetry, the show was hosted by CBC’s Rosanna Deerchild and poet J.R. Léveillé at the sparkling Winnipeg Art Gallery.
The students’ performances were judged by an esteemed panel of poets, including Cecily Nicholson, Jason Stefanik, Katherena Vermette, Lise Gaboury-Diallo, Pierre Nepveu and Michaël Trahan.
The audience included Winnipeg's inaugural Poet Laureate Di Brandt, Bathélemy Bolivar, Ariel Gordon, Damian Rogers, and Chimwemwe Undi, as well as founder Scott Griffin, who enthused, “This is our first National Finals in Winnipeg, and tonight, the city really opened its arms to these talented students. And with good reason – their performances were riveting.” The finalists recited poems by an array of classic and contemporary poets, including e e cummings, Paul Verlaine, Bronwen Wallace, and Sonnet L’Abbé.
Over 10,000 students from 1,400 Canadian schools learned a poem by heart this year. The top-scoring students advanced to the Online Qualifiers, then the 24 Semifinalists were flown to Winnipeg to compete in the English, Bilingual, or French Stream.
The nine student winners are:
English Prize Stream
Catricia Hiebert won the first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for the library of St. Mary’s Catholic School, Sexsmith, AB (with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books) for the best combined score of three recitations in English. (centre)
Matthew Zhou won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of London Central Secondary School, London, ON for the purchase of poetry books. (right)
Nina Thach won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of Kildonan-East Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB for the purchase of poetry books. (left)
Bilingual Prize Stream
Ghada Charki won the first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for the library of Champlain Regional College, St-Lambert, QC (with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books) for the best combined score of one poem in English and one poem in French. (left)
Jenny Wang won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Montréal, QC for the purchase of poetry books. (centre)
Avril Brigden won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of Alpha Secondary School, Burnaby, BC for the purchase of poetry books. (right)
French Prize Stream
Nahida Mohamadou won the first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for the library of Lycée Louis Pasteur, Calgary, AB (with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books) for the best combined score of three recitations in French. (left)
Laure Poitras won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of Cégep du Vieux Montréal, Montréal, QC for the purchase of poetry books. (centre)
Larissa Dushime won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Windsor, ON for the purchase of poetry books. (right)
In addition to competing in the recitation contest, these students participated in a gallery tour & poetry workshop at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, a bilingual, city-wide poetry scavenger hunt called The Epic Winnipeg Poetry Hunt, and a cabaret, where Semifinalists shared their original poetry.
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About Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie:
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 national student recitation competitions and many local team recitation contests, the organization also provides an anthology of classic and contemporary poems, comprehensive teaching materials, and a network of over 300 poets who visit classrooms, create educational materials, and judge recitation contests, 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.
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.
Media Sponsor: Winnipeg Free Press
Media Partner: CBC Books
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