Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize

for Canadian youth.

Submissions are open!

The Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth was established to foster a lifelong relationship between Canadian youth and the literary arts, specifically poetry. The prize is supported through a generous donation from the Stursberg family and other donors in honour of Jessamy Stursberg. The prize accepts submissions from young poets all across Canada, with three prizes awarded in both the Junior (grades 7 to 9) and Senior (grades 10 to 12) categories: 


Winner: $400
Second Place: $350
Third Place: $300 


All six of the winning poems will also be featured on the League of Canadian Poets’ website and distributed through our Poetry Pause subscription program. Submissions can be entered by the poet, by a teacher, or by a parent or guardian, but the poem(s) submitted must be original work by the poet. 


Submission guidelines:

 To submit, follow the steps outlined below.  

Step One:

  • Prepare a Microsoft Word document of the poem. This document should contain no information other than the title of the poem, and the poem itself.  
  • If students are submitting more than one poem to be considered, prepare a separate document for each poem. You may submit a maximum of two poems.  
  • Poems must be under 50 lines and must be original work.  

 Step Two:

Prepare an e-mail to In the body of the email, include the following information:  

Poet’s full name:
Poet’s age:
Poet’s grade as of September 2018:
Poet’s city and province:
Poet’s school:
Poet’s e-mail address:
Title(s) of attached poem(s):  

 Step Three: 

Attach the Word document(s) containing the poem(s) to your e-mail. 
We will confirm receipt of your submission within seven business days–if you have not heard from us by then, please feel free to follow up. 
Winners will be notified in May 2019 and announced in June 2019.  

 Copyright remains with the poet. Winners will be asked for first rights to publish their work.  Should an entry be published elsewhere during the course of the contest, we ask that the entrant notify the League immediately.
Revisions on any poem will not be accepted after it has been entered.

All decisions of the jury are final. Contest is open to Canadian citizens and residents. Members of the League’s National Council, staff or contest judges or their families are not eligible to enter the contest.  


Deadline to Submit: April 19, 2019. 


The League of Canadian Poets are pleased to announce the winners of 2018’s Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize! 

2018 Winners
(view the full announcement and read the winning poems)

FIRST PLACE: Stephanie Cui (junior), Melanie Thompson (senior)
SECOND PLACE: Leeloo Lengagne (junior), Aminah Attar (senior)
THIRD PLACE: Connie Xie (junior), Stephanie Chang (senior) 

In addition to the cash prizes, this year’s first place winners in both categories were published in 2018’s Poem in Your Pocket Day booklet. Congratulations, Stephanie and Melanie! To learn more about Poem in your Pocket Day, click here.

Past Winners

2017 | 2016 | 2015 (junior/senior)


About the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize

Photo: Richard and Jessamy Stursberg
Richard and Jessamy Stursberg

The Jessamy Stursberg Youth Poetry Trust Fund makes this prize possible, and contributes to the sustainability of the Canadian poetry community and our young writers. Stursberg believed, with Christopher Fry, that “Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement”. Poetry was-for her-the deepest way of understanding the world. Her keen mind retained impressive amounts of verse, most of which she knew by heart. This gift became a comfort once her eyesight failed.

It is the wish of her family to see Jessamy’s love of poetry carried on by young people. Through this fund, Canadian youth now have access to greater opportunities to grow, as poets, through the love of writing, reading and instruction.