2018 National Finals


Welcome Dinner and Mic Check

Our 24 finalists, their teachers, and poets from across Canada gather for dinner on the opening night of the 2018 Poetry In Voice National Finals.   Director David Smith and Poet Coordinator Catherine Cormier-Larose welcome everyone. Founding Director, anthology editor, and poet Damian Rogers is in attendance.   The students take turns at the microphone in the theatre to prepare for Qualifiers the next day.   Meanwhile, the teachers and poets enjoy a glass of wine in the theatre lobby. Board member and former host Johanne Blais talks with poet, judge, and anthology editor Pierre Nepveu. Poet Hector Ruiz will be leading a poetry workshop with the students and teachers later in the week.


French & Bilingual Qualifiers

The next morning, 2016 Bilingual Stream Champion Marie Foolchand hosts the 2018 French & Bilingual Qualifiers. The judges and tabulators are ready. Ghada Charki, Collège Durocher Saint-Lambert, St-Lambert, QC Aimée-Larissa Dushime, St. Joseph's Catholic High School, Windsor, ON Simon Duvialard, Lycée Louis Pasteur, Calgary, AB Geneviève Dubuc, École secondaire Jules-Verne, Vancouver, BC Audrey Décarie-Truffer, Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, Montréal, QC Michelle Cheng, Bayview Secondary School, Richmond Hill, ON At the end of the show, Marie announces the three students in each stream who will be moving on to the Awards Show the next evening. Moving forward in the French Prize Stream (l to r): Alice Blouin-Décoste, Jeanne Cantin, and Charlie Rivard In the Bilingual Prize Stream, the three finalists are (l to r): Olivia Torralbo, Brittany Huellas-Bruskiewicz, and John Wood.


English Qualifiers

2013 English Stream Champion Kyla Kane hosts the English Qualifiers in the afternoon. Laura Beth Neuman, Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School, Kitchener, ON Carly Benson, Assumption College Catholic Secondary School, Windsor, ON Elizabeth Wong, Toronto French School, Toronto, ON Chloe Harris, Montague Regional High School, Montague, PE Anna Navarro, Bishop Grandin High School, Calgary, AB Mary Wan, Webber Academy, Calgary, AB Juliana Nunes, Dr. Charles Best Secondary School, Coquitlam, BC Jia Xin Chen, École internationale de Montréal, Montréal, QC Sophia Chu, Canterbury High School, Ottawa, ON Advancing to the Awards Show are Pujita Verma, Gabrielle Nebrida-Pépin, and... ...Hamish Marissen-Clark


The Epic Toronto Poetry Showdown (some captions written by Stuart Ross)

Thursday morning begins bright and early with a poetic tour and scavenger hunt of Toronto created by Stuart Ross and Catherine Cormier-Larose. Stuart: “Éric Charlebois gets students writing haikus about Toronto City Hall as part of the Epic Toronto Poetry Showdown!”   Stuart: “I'm bill bissett's deputy here as he leads the PIV/LVP students in an improv sound poem in the Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, where poet Maggie Helwig is the priest.” Stuart: “bill bissett led me and the student PIV/LVP finalists in an improv sound poem at the Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields.”   Stuart: “The formidable Lorna Crozier, in the window of Future Bistro, provides a quiz for the students standing outside the café during the Epic Toronto Poetry Showdown.”   Stuart: “The brilliant Liz Howard (not in pic) led the intrepid students in creating a Gwendolyn MacEwen cento in Gwendolyn MacEwen Park. Who gave Gwen the scarf on this cold day?” Stuart: “Fantastic poet Pierre Nepveu greets the wondrous students at Mosaïque Bookstore.” Stuart: “Fred Martin! He gave us such amazing talks before we wrote a collaborative poem around the medicine wheel.” Stuart: “Fred from the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto told us about so many things: the totem pole, the fire pit, the medicine wheel. Such an amazing stop along the Epic Toronto Poetry Showdown.” Stuart: “Adam Sol and Hector Ruíz give some background on Coach House Press and bpNichol before we read in chorus bp's 'concrete poem' in bpNichol Lane.” Stuart: “The students rummage through the recycling bins behind Coach House's print shop, looking for nifty literary souvenirs.”  


Poetry Writing Workshops

Poet Adam Sol's workshop starts after lunch.   Poet Hector Ruiz Teachers participate in the workshops... ...and so do the poets! Fellow workshop facilitator Catherine Poulin attends Hector Ruiz' workshop. Poet Phoebe Wang  


The Awards Show

Hector Ruiz and Catherine Poulin at the reception before the Awards Show CBC broadcaster Gillian Deacon hosts the Awards Show. Judging the contest (l to r): poets Pierre Nepveu, Éric Charlebois, Erika Soucy, Liz Howard, Matt Rader, and Canisia Lubrin Kicking off the English Prize Stream, Pujita Verma from Glenforest Secondary School, Mississauga, ON recites “A History of Houses Built Out of Spite” by Chimwemwe Undi. Gabrielle Nebrida-Pépin from École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville, Port Coquitlam, BC recites “I Lost My Talk” by Rita Joe. Hamish Marissen-Clark from St. George's School, Vancouver, BC recites “Illegalese: Floodgate Dub” by Wayde Compton. English judges Matt Rader and Canisia Lubrin In the French Prize Stream, Jeanne Cantin from Collège François-de-Laval, Québec, QC recites « Dans la cuisine... » by Carole David. Alice Blouin-Décoste from Collège Ste-Anne de Lachine, Lachine, QC recites « Quand les cargos... » by Rose Eliceiry. Charlie Rivard from Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC recites « Je ne trouve pas toujours... » by Louise Dupré. The Jeremy Worden trio plays during the intermission. After the break, Brittany Huellas-Bruskiewicz from École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville, Port Coquitlam, BC starts the Bilingual Prize Stream with her recitation of “Opus 75, Sestina in B-flat for the Glockenspiel” by Adam Sol. John Wood from Toronto French School, Toronto, ON recites “My Meadow, My Twilight” by Carl Phillips. Olivia Torralbo from The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, Montréal, QC recites « beauté formol » by Chloé Savoie-Bernard. Judge Pierre Nepveu watches and makes his decisions. Krystyne and Scott Griffin congratulate 2018 Bilingual Prize Stream Champion Brittany Huellas-Bruskiewicz. Hamish Marissen-Clark collects the trophy and first prize in the English Prize Stream. French Prize Stream Champion Charlie Rivard is flanked by Jeanne Cantin (l) and Alice Blouin-Décoste (r). Founder Scott Griffin has a few closing words for the audience. (l to r) Bilingual Prize Stream Finalists Olivia Torralbo, Brittany Huellas-Bruskiewicz, and John Wood (l to r) English Prize Stream Finalists Gabrielle Nebrida-Pépin, Hamish Marissen-Clark, and Pujita Verma French judges (l to r): Pierre Nepveu, Erika Soucy, and Éric Charlebois English judges (l to r): Canisia Lubrin, Liz Howard, and Matt Rader Hanging out at the Poet Cabaret: David Chariandy (and son), Rabbi Yael Splansky, and Adam Sol Founding Director Damian Rogers laughs with poet and workshop host Hector Ruiz. Chimwemwe Undi hosts the Poet Cabaret. Charlie Rivard performs her own poem. The next morning, poets and PIV/LVP staff meet to discuss the first year of the Canada Council partnership.