2018 Hosts & Judges

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Hosts

Gillian Deacon

Gillian Deacon is host of Here & Now, Toronto's afternoon drive show on CBC Radio One. She is also one of Canada’s best-known environmental writers, the author of the national bestsellers There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Everyday Bodycare and How to Avoid Them (Penguin, 2011), and Green For Life (Penguin, 2008). Her most recent book is the memoir Naked Imperfection (Penguin, 2014). Gill worked for many years on television, as host of CBC's The Gill Deacon Show, and before that as co-host of @discovery.ca, for five years on Discovery Channel Canada and Discoveries This Week for Discovery Science Channel in the U.S. She was also a weekly arts correspondent for CBC News: Morning. She sits on the board of the Writer’s Trust, a national organization supporting and promoting Canadian writers. Gill lives in Toronto with her husband and their three sons.

English Qualifiers

On April 18 at 1pm, twelve English Stream finalists recite and compete for 3 coveted spots at the Awards Show. Our host will be our 2013 English Champion, Kyla Kane.

Kyla Kane

Kyla Kane in an actress originally from Vancouver, BC. She moved to Toronto in the Fall of 2015, and has since fallen in love with the city. She enjoys many art forms such as singing, songwriting, and of course, poetry. She was the English Champion in 2013 and was honoured to recite at The Griffin Poetry Prize that same year.

French & Bilingual Qualifiers

Six finalists in the French Stream and six in the Bilingual Stream recite vie for the chance to compete at the Awards Show. Only three from each stream will advance. Marie Foolchand, our 2016 Bilingual Champion, will host the event.

Marie Stella Foolchand

Marie Stella Foolchand is a two-time Poetry In Voice finalist and the 2016 Bilingual Champion. She graduated from École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé in Toronto in 2016. Now in her second year of French Studies at York University, she plans to become a French teacher.

Judges

Poets from across the country will gather to judge our finalists' recitations.

Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is Anishinaabek from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, in Ontario. Kateri is an internationally acclaimed writer, spoken word poet, Indigenous arts activist, publisher and communications consultant. She and her sons live in their community at Neyaashiinigmiing on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. Kateri has two collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, and two CDs of spoken word poetry and music. Her CD A Constellation of Bones was nominated for an Aboriginal Music Award. Kateri’s first collection of short stories, The Stone Collection, was given a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly in a review that called her “luminescent prose” both “fiercely honest” and “diamond-like in its brilliance.” The Stone Collection was a finalist for a Sarton Literary Award. Kateri is the founder and Managing Editor of award-winning publisher Kegedonce Press, which publishes and promotes some of the most beautiful, challenging, celebrated Indigenous literature in the world. Kateri recently received a REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

 

Liz Howard

Liz Howard was born and raised in northern Ontario. She received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto and an MFA in Creative Writing through the University of Guelph. Her first book, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2016.

 

Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin is a writer, critic and teacher with work appearing in journals, magazines and anthologies including Room Magazine, The Puritan, This Magazine, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Unpublished City, and The Globe & Mail. Lubrin was named to CBC’s list of 150 Young Black Women making Canada better in 2017. She serves on the editorial board of the Humber Literary Review, as an advisor to Open Book and is co-host of Pivot Reading Series. She holds an MFA from Guelph-Humber, teaches English at Humber College, and is the author of Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn). 

 

Pierre Nepveu

Pierre Nepveu taught literature at Université de Montréal for thirty years. Poet, novelist, and essay writer, Professor Nepveu has published well over twenty books, including several collections of poetry and essays, three of which earned Governor General’s Literary Awards. He is also the author, with Laurent Mailhot, of La poésie québécoise des origines à nos jours, a much-loved Quebec poetry anthology, which was reprinted in 2007. Pierre Nepveu was involved in collecting the scattered works of poet Gaston Miron and is also the author of Miron’s biography, Gaston Miron. La vie d’un homme, published in 2011. Pierre Nepveu has received both the Athanase-David prize in Quebec and the Order of Canada for his life’s work and in 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

 

Matt Rader

Matt Rader grew up in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. He studied poetry at the University of Victoria with Patrick Lane, Lorna Crozier, and Derk Wynand, and at the University of Oregon with Garrett Hongo, Dorianne Laux, Joseph Millar, and Geri Doran. His poems, stories, and nonfiction have appeared in publications around the world. The author of four volumes of poetry, his most recent collection is Desecrations (McClelland & Stewart 2016). He lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, with his two daughters, where he teaches Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. 

 

Amazing Poetry Race Organizers

On the morning of April 19, our finalists and their teachers will set out on a whirlwind poetry-themed scavenger hunt across Toronto designed by Stuart Ross and Catherine Cormier-Larose.

Catherine Cormier-Larose

Catherine Cormier-Larose is the Artistic and General Director of Productions Arreuh who, since 2007, have been interested in the assault of public places by poetry. She is a critic, events and poet coordinator (French stream) of Les voix de la poesie/Poetry In Voice, and independent curator (La Chapelle theater, Maison des arts de Laval). Cormier-Larose has published in several magazines, fanzines, as well as in collectives. Her first full-length collection — L'avion est un réflexe court — was recently published by Del Busso.

 

Stuart Ross

Stuart Ross is a writer, editor, writing teacher, and small press activist living in Cobourg, Ontario. He is the award-winning author of 20 books of poetry, fiction, and essays, most recently Pockets (ECW Press, 2017), A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), and A Hamburger in a Gallery (DC Books, 2015). Stuart has taught workshops in elementary and high schools across the country, and was the 2010 Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University. Visiting schools and working with students of all ages is his favourite part of his writing practice. Stuart is at work writing nearly a dozen different poetry, non-fiction, and fiction manuscripts. It's a race against time!

 

Workshop Facilitators

The finalists and their teachers will have the opportunity to hear more about poets' creative processes and will write some poetry of their own.


Hector Ruiz is the author of three poetry books and one essay on poetry teaching. In the introduction of his Masters thesis at the University of Quebec in Montreal, he presents his first poetry book, Qui s’installe, as a work on what disappears and resurges in writing through the process of immigration. His poems show a world in continual loss and search for references. Ruiz teaches literature at Montmorency College, and won, together with Dominic Marcil, the Prix d’innovation en enseignement de la poésie du Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières in 2011. His commitment to teaching was acknowledged by an honourable mention from the Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale in 2015. His latest poetry book is Désert et renard du désert (Le Noroît, 2015)

 

Adam Sol

Born in New York, Adam Sol has lived in Toronto for more than 15 years. He has published four books of poetry, including Complicity, his most recent collection. His novel-in-verse Jeremiah, Ohio was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry and his collection Crowd of Sounds won the award in 2004. 

 

Phoebe Wang

Phoebe Wang is a poet and educator based in Toronto. Her debut collection of poetry, Admission Requirements, appeared with McClelland & Stewart in Spring 2017. She is the author of two chapbooks and her work has appeared in Arc PoetryThe Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve, Ricepaper Magazine, and THIS Magazine. She has twice been a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize and won the 2015 Prism International Poetry contest. She currently works at Seneca College and was a co-coordinator for 'Fuel for Fire,' a professional development event for writers of colour in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council.

 

Cabaret Hosts

After the Awards Show, students, teachers, poets, and staff will celebrate together one last time before everyone returns home. Our cabaret includes an open mic and a live dj.

Catherine Cormier-Larose

Catherine Cormier-Larose is the Artistic and General Director of Productions Arreuh who, since 2007, have been interested in the assault of public places by poetry. She is a critic, events and poet coordinator (French stream) of Les voix de la poesie/Poetry In Voice, and independent curator (La Chapelle theater, Maison des arts de Laval). Cormier-Larose has published in several magazines, fanzines, as well as in collectives. Her first full-length collection — L'avion est un réflexe court — was recently published by Del Busso.

 

Chimwemwe Undi

Chimwemwe Undi is a performance and page poet living and writing as a guest on Treaty One in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her work has appeared on stages at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and in the pages of Room Magazine, Arc Poetry Magazine and CV2, among others. She holds an MA in linguistics from York University. Her debut chapbook, The Habitual Be, was published by University of Nebraska Press in 2017.