Raymond Souster Award

for a book of poetry by a League member.


The Raymond Souster Award is given for a book of poetry by a League of Canadian Poets member. The award honours Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets. The award carries a $2,000 prize and it is presented each year at the LCP Annual Conference in June, with the shortlist announced in April.



Book award submissions are now open! 

Deadline: December 10, 2019 

Publishers and authors may now submit books published in 2019 to the following awards: 

Additional eligibility guidelines (for all awards): 

  • Authors must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents 
  • Titles must be published in 2019 
  • Submitted titles must have one author. Translators are not eligible as authors 
  • Titles must be at least 48 pages in length, excluding front and back material 
  • If a title is “selected” or “collected” work, it must contain at least 50% new material, measured in pages of text. This percentage must be identified with the submission. 
  • Chapbooks and self-published books are not eligible. 
  • Submissions are welcome in any language, but submissions in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation (the original language text must have been published in 2019) 
  • Titles may be submitted by a publisher, author, or other nominator 
  • There is a $25.00 submission fee per title, per award that may be paid by credit card or cheque upon confirmation of receipt of the submission. 
  • Submissions must be received by Tuesday, December 10, 2019. If a book is set to be published between December 10 and December 31, 2019, contact admin@poets.ca by November 30, 2019 to arrange an extension. 

Submission process: 

Please note the submission process has been updated to minimize confusion and errors during the submission process! We welcome feedback on this update process – feel free to email nicole@poets.ca with any concerns or comments. 

  • Step one: complete this online form to indicate which books you will be submitting, and to which awards https://forms.gle/GmLW4kD2SD4D5XQz5 
  • Step two: await e-mail confirmation from the League office confirming a) how many copies of each title to send and b) an invoice for applicable submission fees 
  • Step three: send books to the League Toronto office and submit payment for submission fees online via credit card, or include a cheque with the parcel of books for consideration 

Submissions will include three (3) copies of each title submitted, per award, and one (1) additional copy of each book, as well as a $25.00 submission fee per title, per award. 

Longlists and shortlists for the 2020 book awards will be announced in April 2020, and the winner will be announced in May 2020 at the League of Canadian Poets Annual Conference and AGM! 




The 2019 Raymond Souster Award goes to…
I left nothing inside on purpose by Stevie Howell (McClelland & Stewart) 



From the publisher: Poems of stringent aesthetic demands and volcanic emotional release make up Stevie Howell’s wondrous I left nothing inside on purpose. These poems–bewildering in their linguistic beauty–verge on prayer in their intense plea to be truly seen by another, a sort of devotional sequence addressing the psychological construct of attachment. Can we change? Has anyone ever changed? Does it matter? Lives marred by injury and violence, both physical and psychic, emerge in the book as meditations on trust, endurance, faith, destruction, and love. Howell’s voice combines ferocious intimacy and moral rigour with precision and compassion. The Hawaiian surf, the neuropsychologist’s lab, the deliriums of social media, and the recovery room. From geology to theology, lyric pain to the contemplative mind of the quasi-saint, I left nothing inside on purpose is a deeply affecting, glittering analysis of who we are when we claim to be ourselves in the world. 


From the jurors: Stevie Howell’s poems create a dazzling sense of contemporary experience, with all its wounds, as well as the bruising quality of the past: an AI bot named Tay learns to be racist and sexist from “Talking w/ humans;” Kintsugi pottery and fragments from Kierkegaard, D.H. Lawrence, and the vocabulary of self-help rattle through the deceptive transparency of Howell’s lines. The voice here insists on ironic distance and uncomfortable intimacy, poetic history and the banality of the present, “crowdfunded innocence” and “how pain never knows when to stop.” This collection is sophisticated, funny, and sad, often within the same line. 


Click here to read “I welcome the wound &” from I left nothing inside on purpose and here to order a copy of the 2019 Raymond Souster Award-winning title from McClelland & Stewart. 


Stevie Howell is a psychometrist & writer who lives in Victoria, BC. Stevie’s second collection of poetry, I left nothing inside on purpose, was released last spring by Penguin Random House Canada. Stevie is currently writing a thriller, & forever working on her afterlife. 

Congratulations, Stevie!  

To see the 2019 Book Awards shortlists, click here
Thank you to our 2019 jury: Kathy Mac, Maurice Mierau, and Concetta Principe. 



2018– Karen Enns, Cloud Physics
2017 – Louise Bernice Halfe, Burning in This Midnight Dream
– Lorna Crozier, The Wrong Cat
2015 – Patrick Lane, Washita
2014 – Anne Compton, Alongside
2013 – A.F. Moritz, The New Measures