National broadsheet contest

We are thrilled to announce that Doyali Islam is the winner of the League of Canadian Poets’ inaugural National Broadsheet Contest! Her winning poem “cat and door” was selected by judge Sharon Thesen for its “sweet formalities of elegiac thought.” Islam was the winner of Arc’s 2016 Poem of the Year contest and CV2’s 2015 Young Buck Poetry Prize, as well as the recipient of a 2015 Chalmers Arts Fellowship.

Thank you to all the amazing poets who submitted their poems to this inaugural contest! Thank you as well to guest judge Sharon Thesen, and to Briar Craig for his work designing the beautiful winning broadsheet.

“Visually striking, this poem’s design elements, as well as its sweet formalities of elegiac thought, beautifully mirrors the dilemma of the cat—whose wild nature remains separated and closed off from its domestic and protected life,” says Thesen. “The poem wonders whether the cat is being kept in (for safety) or kept out (from its own nature). Its compression is an ironic counterpart to the circumscribed life it describes.”

Thesen also selected two honourable mention poems: “Sheila’s Brush” by Maggie Burton, which she calls a “lively poem of protest and revenge,” and “Trilobite” by Joanna Lilley for its effective and poignant presentation of form and content.

In addition to being crafted into an artisan broadsheet, “cat and door” will be published in the 2017 booklet for Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27.


The winner of Arc‘s 2016 Poem of the Year Contest and CV2‘s 2015 Young Buck Poetry Prize, Doyali Islam’s poems have appeared in KROnline, Grain, and The Fiddlehead. Islam is the recipient of a 2015 Chalmers Arts Fellowship as well as grants from Canada Council for the Arts (Grants for Professional Writers, 2013), Ontario Arts Council (Writers’ Reserve, 2014), and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund (Money for Women, 2014). From March 2013 to April 2015, Islam curated and hosted Conspiracy of 3 Reading Series. In 2011, she won CV2‘s 35th Anniversary Contest, and her first poetry book – Yusuf and the Lotus Flower – was published by BuschekBooks. For a window onto her life and work as of February 27th 2016, read her “12 or 20 questions” responses on rob mclennan’s website. She lives in Toronto.