Contests and awards have become two of the most prominent tools of Canadian publishers and writers. There are many of them, catering to many varieties of poetry, from haiku to humour, from sonnets to long poems to the kitchen sink. If you want to try your luck and get your name out there, check out the lists below!


  • Vallum: Contemporary Poetry accepts original and previously unpublished submissions for the annual Vallum Award for Poetry
  • The Fiddlehead’s Annual Literary Contests
    Prizes for Poetry:
    $1,000 Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem
    $500 each for the Two Honourable Mentions
    Prizes for Fiction:
    $1,000 for Best Story, $500 each for the Two Honourable Mentions
  • gritLIT, Hamilton’s literary festival, seeks interesting poems — to put the winners on the map in Hamilton and elsewhere. Prizes: First Prize $200; Second Prize $100; Third Prize $50. For full details: or contact
  • Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest. Deadline March 15 2008. Cash prizes of $1500 for poems in  English and French. Winners published in anthology. For more info:
  • A good place to keep up on contests of interest to Canadian poets was Smith’s List. After years of sterling volunteer work, League member E. Russell Smith has retired from updating his Literary Contests Page. However, there’s good news: the Writer’s Circle of Durham Region has agreed to take over this valuable service. Their contest list is now available here.
  • The annual Griffin Poetry Prize divides $80,000 into equal prizes for the best Canadian and the best International poetry collections.
  • The Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award invites nominations from poets, publishers and self-publishers for chapbooks or full collections published in the current or previous year.
  • The Utmost Christian Poetry Contest offers four contests and awards over $7300 in prizes. Utmost also offers a paying market for literary poetry. Contests include the Utmost Christian Poetry Contest, Novice Christian Poetry Contest, Christian Publishers Poetry Prize and Canadian Christian Poetry Contest.
  • Wordwrights Canada hosts the Annual Canadian Student and Chapbook Writing Competitions .
  • ARC, which describes itself as “Canada’s national poetry magazine,” has an annual poetry contest with a first prize of $1,000.
  • The Antigonish Review runs The Annual Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest . Current rules are a maximum of 4 pages or 150 lines per entry. Prizes are publication and $800 first, #500 second, $300 third. Entry fee is $25, which includes a one-year subscription to the review.
  • The Ontario Poetry Association runs runs several contests each year that are open to the public. Check here for details.
  • The literary magazine Lichen started a new contest with its clever “serial poet” contest. Check here for details on the mag’s next contest.
  • CBC Radio hosts the Annual Poetry Face-off in which poets vie for the winning spot and listeners can vote for their favourite wordsmith on-line or by phone. Voting on the current face-off ends April 27.
  • The Cranberry Tree Poetry Contest publishes winners in an anthology.
  • The Quebec Writers’ Association offers a number of awards, including:
    Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
    First Book Prize
    Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-ficton
    A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry
    Translation Prize
    Community Service Award
  • Prairie Fire, one of Canada’s premier literary magazines, has annual poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction/personal journalism contests.
  • The Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Contest is sponsored by The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region. Annual deadline: Feb 15.
  • There’s a useful list of Canadian poetry contests at this Ottawa site.
  • Wax Poetry and Art Poetry Contest  – Wax Poetry and Art is a Canadian magazine that runs a free poetry contest several times a year, and also has other contests and special calls. Visit the Submissions page for complete information.



  • The new, annual, Griffin Poetry Prize divides $80,000 into equal prizes for the best Canadian and the best International poetry collections.
  • Fence magazine offers two contests: The 2003 Alberta Prize, for a first or second full-length collection of poems by an American woman, and the Modern Poets Series 2003, for a full-length collection by a poet writing in English at any stage in his or her career.
  • The Poetry Kit maintains a list of poetry competitions, worldwide. Invaluable.
  • The Association of New Zealand Writers hosts a list of international poetry contests.
  • The Art Deadlines list is a FREE email newsletter listing art competitions, art scholarships, art grants, juried exhibitions, art jobs & internships, call for entries/proposals/papers, writing & photo contests, residencies, design & architecture competitions, auditions, tryouts, fellowships, festivals, funding, financial aid, and other opportunities (including some that take place on the web) for artists, art educators and art students of all ages. The Free edition provides 20-40 items a month. A deluxe paid edition, which provides 500 items a month, is also available.
  • Poetry Online has a page listing many contests for youth and amateurs.
  • To learn more about how you may or may not be taken in by contests, check out our extensive coverage of poetry scams at our Poetry Spoken Here Store.

For contests and awards administered by the League visit this page.