2020 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth – Winning Poems

Congratulations to the 2020 Winners of the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize. The jurors were incredibly impressed with the quality of poems submitted this year, and we thank everyone who shared their poetry with us— we know the future of professional poetry in Canada is in good hands!

The jurors for the 2020 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize are: Adebe DeRango-Adem, Matthew Heinz, Ayaz Pirani, Vanessa Shields and Daniel Scott Tysdale. Thank you to our jurors!

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 


On Jasmine
by Kate O’Connor


“Jellie Catching” by Crystal Peng

Crystal Peng is a 15 year-old living in BC. In her free time she likes to read, play the piano, and be outside. She has been writing since grade 4.


“Heirloom” by Nazanin Soghrati

Nazanin Soghrati is a 17-year-old high school student from Richmond Hill, Ontario. She loves poetry for its lyricism, striking immediacy, and above all, for its ability to convey so many dimensions of lived experience that are hard to communicate through structured language.


“him” by Max Schlodder

Max Schlodder is a 15yr old transgender poet from Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys working with both visual and literary art, and hopes to one day become an author or artist to share more of his work with the world.


“Seventeen Years Told Through Flowers” by Max Schlodder

Born and raised in downtown Toronto, Kira Belaoussoff walks quickly, talks loudly, and writes religiously. She will be attending the University of Toronto in the fall, studying Psychology.


“Azadi (Freedom)” by Zara Zafar

Zara Zafar is a 14 year-old who loves reading, writing and drawing. She lives in Ajax, Ontario with her parents and two younger brothers. She also enjoys travelling. She has been to 8 countries around the world and hopes to visit more in the future.