About The League of Canadian Poets


The League of Canadian Poets supports Canadian poets and poetry in Canada.


The League of Canadian Poets’ mandate is to enhance the status of poets and foster professional poetry communities. The League works to enlarge the audience for poetry by encouraging publication, performance, education, and recognition of Canadian poetry locally, nationally, and internationally, and supports equitable and inclusive freedom of expression in Canada.


A representative and thriving culture of poets and poetry lovers.


Inclusiveness, representation, accessibility, innovation, and professionalism.

Contact Us

The LCP office operates remotely. Lettermail may be sent to:

1519-2 Carlton Street
Toronto, ON
M5B 1J3

Parcels will not be accepted at this address. Contact admin@poets.ca if you are sending a delivery to the LCP.

Phone: 416-504-1657

General inquiries: info@poets.ca

Board of Directors

President: Tracy Hamon

Vice President: Rayanne Haines

Treasurer: Michael Andrews

Secretary: Geoff Nilson

Past President: Vacant

Chair, Membership Committee: Emilia Nielsen

Chair, Regional Representatives Committee: Carolyne Van Der Meer (on temporary hiatus)

Chair, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee: Stuart Ian McKay


Executive Director (On leave): Lesley Fletcher, ed@poets.ca

Lesley Fletcher is a literature-obsessed graduate of the Creative Book Publishing Program at Humber College. She rejoins the LCP from the Retail Council of Canada (where she supported independent bookstores and publishers). In the past, Lesley has also worked as a freelance writer and editor, a bookseller, and a social media manager for self-published authors. Lesley spends an unusual amount of time reading, and cannot resist a bookstore, a library, or a dog.

Interim Executive Director (Administrative Director): Nic Brewer, nicole@poets.ca

Nic Brewer is an information and administrative professional with nearly a decade of experience in the arts and culture sector supporting poets, readers, and literary organizers as they have come up with new and creative ways to enrich Canada’s literary culture. Their expertise in information management, systems design, and communication have helped the League to expand its programming and increase its efficiency, always with the goal of finding more ways to direct funds back into Canadian poetry. She also loves to be involved with small presses and grassroots literary projects, and has run a few of her own: for four years, she co-managed the literary arts collective words(on)pages, and in Fall 2019 she co-founded the online literary magazine Frond. Their first book, Suture, was published by Book*hug in the fall of 2021.

Communications Manager: Laura O’Brien, laura@poets.ca

Laura Auna O’Brien is a writer, communications aficionado and audio nerd. In her spare time, Laura enjoys listening to podcasts, attending music shows, sampling craft beer with friends and hanging out with her partner and two cats in their vibrant Queen West neighbourhood. Laura is proud to be an ally and advocate for fat positivity, sustainability, and equity for marginalized communities.

Administrative Manager: Ashley-Elizabeth Best, aeb@poets.ca

Ashley-Elizabeth Best is a disabled poet and essayist from Kingston. She enjoys cats, novelty mugs, and hiking with her partner. A-E joins the League staff after working in real estate and as a freelance editor. After finishing her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, she is now finishing her second full-length book and working towards her Certificate in Creative Writing at U of T.

Communications and Programming Intern: Leila-Indira Mohabeer-Ortiz

Leila-Indira Mohabeer-Ortiz is a student journalist, avid writer and reader currently located in Ottawa. She loves everything about rom coms from the early 2000s, fictional literature, RnB music, and using her free time to attempt to work on a novel she started in 2012. Leila is currently working toward her undergraduate degree in journalism at Carleton University.

Want to know more? Check out our page of frequently asked questions!


Established in 1966, the League is Canada’s largest professional organization for established and emerging Canadian poets. Founded by a group of Toronto poets, the League has nurtured the advancement of poetry in Canada and promoted the interests of poets for over 50 years. The League serves the poetry community and promotes a high level of professional achievement through events, networking, projects, publications, mentoring, and awards. As the recognized voice of Canadian poets, it represents their concerns to governments, publishers, and society at large, and maintains connections with similar organizations at home and abroad. The League strives to promote equal opportunities for poets from every literary tradition and cultural and demographic background.

Members of the League are professional poets who are actively contributing to the development, growth, and public profile of poetry in Canada. We are happy to have members from all across Canada at all stages in their careers, and we are proud of the valuable network of writers this has created! If you are interested in becoming a member of the League, check out our membership page.

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2016! You can find some of our favourite finds from the last 50 years over on the LCP50 page. For a short history of the League from 1966 to 1995, you can download our online publication “A Selective History of the League of Canadian Poets.”


The League was born on August 20, 1966, when Ron Everson, Raymond Souster, Louis Dudeck, Ralph Gustafson, and Michael Gnarowski met to discuss founding a guild to better serve the interest of English-speaking poets in Canada.

Souster asked John Robert Colombo to become the group’s first organizer and he agreed. Meetings were held, often in Colombo’s home in Toronto, over the next year and the name League of Canadian Poets was adopted that first winter.

To publicize the fledgling organization and its members, the week of March 25-31, 1968, fifteen poets read at 24 public library locations with a gala Sunday reading at the Central Library. Audiences ranged from 4 to 575, and it became clear that the organization required elected officers and a mandate to follow up on the success of this first venture and to expand it nation-wide.

The first Annual General Meeting took place on the weekend of October 18-20, 1968. The registration fee of $5 included that year’s membership dues; 40 poets were present. Souster was elected President and Douglas Lochhead was elected Secretary, both for two year terms. By the time the League’s first Newsletter appeared in November 1968, the League had 67 members.

For the first years of its existence, the League concentrated on organizing poetry tours. Poetry festivals were held in Metro Toronto in the spring of 1969 and 1970, the predecessors of today’s (W)rites of Spring League readings.


In 1971 Gerald Lampert became the League’s first tour coordinator, his salary paid by a grant from what was then called the Province of Ontario Council for the Arts (POCA), and Arlene Lampert the first Executive Secretary. At the same time, the Canada Council granted $10,000 to sponsor a poetry tour by 23 poets who gave 10 readings at 10 universities across the country. In addition, some 70-80 readings were given in Ontario high schools, funding coming from POCA. League membership now stood at 78 poets. In 1971, annual membership fees were raised to $7.50 per year.

Over the next several years, League members debated, discussed, and voted on issues ranging from salaries to membership dues to membership criteria. The mid-seventies saw a great rise in League programming and media. Who’s Who in the League of Canadian Poets, a catalogue of League member, was published and distributed to libraries, media, bookstores, and educational institutions. Associate, Honorary, and Life membership categories were introduced, and membership fees were raised to $50 per year.

1980s and 1990s

In 1982, over 20 members of the League brought a motion to the AGM to establish the Feminist Caucus, a committee that would “examine the status of and the opportunities for women in the field of Canadian Poetry.”

Just one year later, in 1983, spoken word and dub poetry became a contentious issue among League members and leadership, as it was debated whether the oral, lyric art form was poetry, song, or theatrical experience. After much debate, membership criteria were expanded to include dub and spoken word poets.

The late 80s saw the establishment of the League’s first national poetry contest, which published 50 winners in an anthology titled Garden Varieties. The 9th annual contest, held in 1995, received over 4,500 entries and raised $27,000 for the League. In addition to this contest, the League also founded the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.

In 1992, the Feminist Caucus celebrated its 10th anniversary, and established its Living Archives Series, a collection of contributions to feminist thought, discussion of sexual politics, literary theory, and women’s history as experienced or shared in, during, and through the panels organized by the Caucus at League AGMs.

By the mid-90s, the League was sharing a Toronto office with the Playwrights Union of Canada and the Periodical Writers Association of Canada, and was working hard to stabilize revenue streams while facing potentially massive cuts to government funding.

In 1998, the League celebrated National Poetry Month for the first time.

2000s and 2010s

The early 2000s were dedicated to stabilizing the administration of the League, reducing debt, and increasing member engagement. Strategies were developed for popularizing National Poetry Month, growing the membership, and fund development, but in 2003 were faced with severe financial issues, forcing staff and program cuts.

Fundraising efforts through the 2000s and early 2010s were able to recover from accumulated debt, and support the establishment of many new programs, including the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for young adults, the Raymond Souster Award, the PK Page Mentorship program, and the Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series.

2015 brought about the start of a major staff turnover, which brought new eyes to the League’s programs and finances. The latter half of the 2010s prioritized redeveloping community partnerships, reviewing membership needs and concerns, and strengthening funder relations while growing programming and increasing national member access to League benefits.


When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a momentary halt in 2020, the League scrambled to move its programming online for the benefit of staff and members. After an initial crunch, the transition of services to online and digital showed us a tremendous increase in engagement and accessibility, and set the stage for vastly increasing the reach and potential of League programming.

At the 2022 AGM, the membership voted to repeal and replace the League By-Laws, a long-awaited updated that would empower the Board and members to develop more timely programming, committees, and initiatives that reflect changes in society and poetry as they arise.

Reports and Financials

Contact admin@poets.ca if you would like to review LCP Annual Reports or Financial Statements.