2020 Junior Online Finals Judges

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Teachers, upload your school champion(s)' 2 recitation videos by Thursday, December 5.

Submit to the Online Contest


We're very excited to introduce this year's Junior Online Finals judges. They are evaluating hundreds of video recitations to decide our 2020 Junior Champions.

The winners will be announced on Thursday, January 9.

Sarah Marylou Brideau was born in the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick the year that "Billy Jean" was at the top of the music charts. In 2001, she published her first poems in issue #30 of Éloizes, and later two poetry books with Éditions Perce-Neige : Romanichelle (2002) et Rues étrangères (2005). In 2013, she completed a Masters in French Language & Literature at McGill University; her thesis was a study of Acadian poet Gérald Leblanc and micro-cosmopolitanism. That same year, her third book of poetry, Cœurs nomades, was published with éditions Prise de parole (Sudbury). Sarah lives in the countryside at the bottom of the great Petitcodiac River in southeastern New Brunswick.


Born on the island of Bahrain, and with Bangladeshi and Arab ancestry, Doyali Islam grew up and currently lives in Toronto.

Would Shakespeare call this poet a literary heretic, and be tickled by the fact? Doyali has “split” the Shakespearean sonnet in half, and has created an utterly-new poetic form called the “parallel poem.” These experiments can be found in her second poetry book, heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019) — a book that contains the award-winning poems “site” (Arc’s 2016 Poem of the Year) and “two burials” (CV2’s 2015 Young Buck Poetry Prize).

Doyali utilizes metred and free verse, and appreciates slant rhyme. Her poems evoke everyday moments (a cat at a door); family tensions (fathers and daughters); chronic illness; and global conflict.

Doyali’s website is undergoing revitalization and may reincarnate as a chubby purring cat, but can currently be found at https://doyali-islam.com/. She is also Arc’s new(ish) Poetry Editor.


Born in Toronto, Ontario, Sonnet L’Abbé grew up in Calgary, rural southern Manitoba, and Kitchener-Waterloo. They are the author of A Strange Relief, Killarnoe, and Sonnet’s ShakespeareTheir styles range from lyric to concrete and experimental, and their themes include racial, national and settler identity, relationship to land, surviving sexual assault, plant knowledge, physiology of music and love. Their influences include M. NourbeSe Phillip, Anne Michaels, Christian Bök, Claudia Rankine, Wislawa Szymborska and Seamus Heaney. They were the editor of Best Canadian Poetry 2014, and their chapbook, Anima Canadensis, won the 2017 bp Nichol Chapbook Award. L’Abbé now lives in Nanaimo BC and is a professor at Vancouver Island University.


Rachel McCrum is a poet, performer, and workshop facilitator. Originally from Northern Ireland, she lived in Edinburgh, Scotland between 2010 and 2016. She was the first BBC Scotland Poet-in-Residence, and Broad of the cult spoken word cabaret Rally & Broad. She has taught and performed in Greece, South Africa, Haiti, and Canada, and toured her first book, The First Blast To Awaken Women Degenerate (Stewed Rhubarb Press), across Ireland, Scotland, and England in 2017. In Montreal, she is the director of the bilingual cabaret Les Cabarets Bâtards. Her poetry has been descibed as “irreverant, heart-wrenching, rallying” ... “soulful and yet defiant.” Her poetry makes its own stage, fiercely oral and yet also vulnerable, wrestling with questions of voice, displacement, movement, politics, feminism, family, and home. 


Born in Manitoba, Francophone poet Paul Savoie (b. 1946) has published works in various genres, including short stories, and translations of poetry into both English and French; he has also composed music. A bilingual writer and proponent of linguistic diversity, he established his talent with his first collection of poetry. His work is personal, and his gaze is straightforward, persistent, and vigilant. His poems foreground the search for love and the place of the individual and the imaginary. Advocating the importance of the individual, this poet of solitude proclaims the universailty of poetry. Savoie received the Trillium Book Award in 2007.


A search for one's identity and those of others mark the poetic journey of Quebec poet Chloé Savoie-Bernard. Her poems are at once hard, lucid, and vulnerable, where meaning is created in the empty spaces. They dance to the rhythm of a lyricism that is made and undone. Her images fly in the face of her readers, which at first may seem contradictory, but reveal a rigorous look at the notion of being feminine today and in our era. Savoie-Bernard writes from her perspective, and particularly through her own experiences, but she stresses that writing from her experiences is not the same as writing about oneself.


Steven Ross Smith is the Banff Poet Laureate for 2018-20. He is a poet, fiction writer, and arts journalist. His latest poetry book is Emanations: Fluttertongue 6, published by Book*hug in 2015He was awarded the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award for his poetry book fluttertongue 3: disarray in 2005, and won the bpNichol Chapbook Award for Pliny’s Knickers in 2006His work appears in journals, recordings, and videos in Canada, USA, and abroad. Smith was Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre (2008–2014) and Director of Sage Hill Writing Experience (1990–2008). He is influenced by Dada and by today's most innovative poets. His writing is published in Grain and CV2. Smith’s poetic work is known for its innovative challenges to poetic form, notably in the seven-book long poem sequence Fluttertongue, and in his performances of sound poetryHis work can be seen on his website at fluttertongue.ca, at stevenrosssmith.com, and on YouTube. 


Jason Stefanik is a second-generation adoptee raised in Manitoba’s Interlake. He currently resides in Winnipeg’s North End. He is a founding member of neither/neither, a creative collective at the Edge Gallery in Winnipeg’s inner city, and also facilitated a small poetry workshop for inmates at Stony Mountain Penitentiary. His poems have appeared in tart, Misunderstandings Magazine, Grain, Nashwaak Review, Arc, and Prairie Fire. He is the recipient of the 2015 Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award and his book of poetry, Night Became Years, was shortlisted for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award. He's currently writing a sequence of poems on cryptography and often asks himself, "What would Auden do?"


Sarah Tolmie has loved early English since she was a teenager because of its weirdness. She did degrees in medieval studies at Toronto and Cambridge. She always wrote poetry but began to write alternate history novels — Ursula Le Guin was a mentor — in her 30s after her kids were born. Now she does both, and teaches literature at University of Waterloo. McGill-Queen’s University Press has published two of her poetry collections: Trio (a long book of sonnets that tells a love story) in 2015 and The Art of Dying in 2018. The latter was nominated for the Griffin Prize.