Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award

for excellence and innovation in spoken word poetry.


This fall, the League is thrilled to announce a new opportunity for rising and established spoken word poets in Canada: a literary prize crafted specifically to highlight the unique strengths and values of spoken word poetry. Spoken word poets at all stages of their artistic development are encouraged to submit a micro-portfolio to be reviewed by a panel of three established spoken word artists – all for a chance at the grand prize of $2,000! The #GoldenBeretAward is open for submissions from members and non-members! 

With this prize, the League is excited to be focusing on spoken word poetry—including dub poetry, sound poetry, and slam poetry, among many other subgenres—and it’s rich and powerful history that has grown to take the international stage by storm. This prize will not be awarded for the best submitted poem, but to the poet whose micro-portfolio has the greatest impact on the panel of jurors. 

Submission are now open!

To Submit: 

Send 3 original* poems to in accordance with the guidelines below, with the subject line “Golden Beret Submission”: 

Poems may be sent in the following formats: 

  • Link to a YouTube video (performance videos are acceptable as long as the poem is clearly audible and distinguishable from audience sounds) 
  • Link to a Soundcloud or Bandcamp track 
  • MP3 audio file (other file formats will not be accepted) 

At least two of the poems must be sent in a format where jurors can assess the performative/oral aspect of the work. One poem may be submitted in PDF or Word format. Previously published poems and poems that have been included on full-length albums are eligible. 

In your submission e-mail, please include a brief bio outlining your history in spoken word poetry, as well as a list of the poems submitted. Please include the performance date of any performance videos, and the recording date (or release date, in the case of poems from albums) of any recordings. 

ELIGIBILITY: This prize is open to spoken word poets residing in Canada.

DEADLINE: December 14, 2018.  The winner will be announced at our AGM in June 2019.

PRIZE: $2,000 awarded to the poet selected by the panel of judges based on the poet’s micro-portfolio 

There is no submission fee to enter this prize. 

* Poems must be written by the spoken word artist submitting their work for consideration.

The Golden Beret Award was founded by Sheri-D Wilson and the Calgary Spoken Word Society. Formerly a lifetime achievement award, past iterations of have honoured a Canadian spoken word artist who made substantial contributions to the development of spoken word, through the originality of their writing/performance works and involvement in the expansion of the spoken word community.


The winner of the 2018 Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award is Dwayne Morgan!

Dubbed by his peers as “The Godfather of Spoken Word,” Dwayne Morgan has been a spoken word community-builder for years. He tours schools and communities extensively, and with support from the York Region District School Board, he created Ontario’s first school poetry slam league! In 2016, Dwayne was a finalist for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and he was also the recipient of the African Canadian Achievement Award. For his extensive community work and achievements, Morgan was also inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame.

Watch some of Dwayne’s performances here.





Previous Recipients:

2017 – d’bi.young anitafrika (Toronto, ON)
– RC Weslowski (Vancouver, BC)
– Penn Kemp (London, ON)
– bill bissett (Toronto, ON)
2013 – Tanya Evanson (Vancouver, BC)
2012 – Kirk Miles (Calgary, AB)
2011 – Ian Ferrier (Montréal, QC)
2010 – Wendy Morton (Victoria,BC)
2009 – Lillian Allen (Toronto, ON)
2008 – Sarah Murphy (Calgary, AB)
2007 – Murdoch Burnett (Comox, BC)