2024 Cold Moon Contest winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2024 Cold Moon Contests!

The League of Canadian Poets is proud to present the winners of the 2024 Cold Moon Contests: Kelly Madden's "Blue Shell," winner of the Very Small Verse contest, and Jessica Lee McMillan's "Transformer Stone," winner of the National Broadsheet Contest.

National Broadsheet Contest winner Jessica Lee McMillan

"Transformer Stone" by Jessica Lee McMillan

“This poem is a powerful testament to personal metamorphosis and how we can embrace the natural world’s strength as we confront and rewrite our own narratives. With descriptive imagery, careful diction, and its intentional visual layout, this work comes together to embody an individual’s journey from vulnerability to monumental resilience.”

—Pujita Verma, National Broadsheet Contest juror

Jessica Lee McMillan (she/her) is a poet with an English MA and Creative Writing certificate from SFU’s The Writer’s Studio. Her work has appeared in over 30 publications across Turtle Island including Crab Creek Review, The Humber Literary Review, Funicular, Pinhole Poetry, and Rose Garden Press. Jessica was a finalist for The Fiddlehead’s 2023 Ralph Gustafson Poetry Contest, won the 2022 Royal City Literary Arts Society Write On! Contest for Poetry and has received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations. She lives on the land of the Halkomelem-speaking Peoples (New Westminster, BC) with her little family and large dog. jessicaleemcmillan.com

Very Small Verse contest winner Kelly madden

"Blue Shell" by Kelly Madden

"This poem leaves me with a lot to think about. It suggests that you can never tell what another person is thinking, or what they have been through – it reminds me of the saying to be kind because everyone is fighting their own battle.

"The poem emphasizes the impact of our earliest experiences, our experiences in nature. The title brought me back to the poem – it adds more information & possibly indicates mood.

"What drew me to this brief poem is the specificity of the word choice – using simple language, the poet has created musicality & rhyme – & I appreciate its multiple meanings & open-endedness. Here, readers can decide for themselves the state & the fate of the bird. We do not need to know the specifics of that story to appreciate the enormity of the “mark” left behind."

—kjmunro, Very Small Verse contest juror

Kelly Madden writes poetry, fiction and children’s stories. Her work has appeared in publications supported by the League of Canadian Poets, Reckoning 2 & 4, Island Writer’s Magazine, Con-temporary Verse 2, THE POET and various anth-ologies. Her first collection of poetry, If I’d Known, is available through redtuquebooks.com or contact kellybmadden.com

Read the winning poems

Transformer Stone*

to the peninsula,

in a pink sweatshirt and

faded jeans. infused my

body in sea mist. bus ticket

from stolen change, now pulp

sediment in pocket. on the inlet

side of Stanley Park the man who

cornered me—probably named Rick,

from Langley—asked why I was out

so far alone at 15. old enough to shake

him off along the seawall. I lost him

around Prospect Point, among ancient

cliffs of stratified rock. I rewrote the

shame of not pleasing a predator with

each step, washing my feet through deep

time. of the valley, I was always rubbled.

it felt like rescue when I saw the monolith

round the bend. it emerged as a sign-post of

survival. exceeding its host cliff, risen from lava,

bathing in the open of the great clean. the standing

stone, my monolith protected. upright and defiant,

with head of transient trees, circling birds. stacked

from the sea, I became unshakable. loyal as a cliff to

the sky. I became the basaltic climb unpacking gravity to ossify

my shape against the waves of lesser things. I welcomed the whole ocean.


*After Skalsh Rock/Slhx̱í7lsh for "Standing Man" denoting the sea stack/monolith. The monolith is located along the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver.

Blue Shell

The first time you saw

a baby robin

beneath an oak tree

did it leave a mark

on you

that no one can see

About the jurors

Pujita Verma headshot

Pujita Verma is an Indo-Canadian poet and illustrator. In 2023, she won the League of Canadian Poets’ Broadsheet Contest, a Mississauga Arts Council Award, and was Runner-Up for the Janice Colbert Poetry Award. She was formerly Mississauga’s Youth Poet Laureate (2018-20) and a Poetry in Voice National Finalist. Pujita has recited poetry on CBC’s The National and Metro Morning, at the IB Global Virtual Conference, and the Governor General’s Literary Awards. A few of her poems were published in the Emerge 4 Chapbook (PS Guelph, 2023) as the poetry winner of the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival Literary Contest.

kjmunro headshot

Katherine J. Munro publishes under the name kjmunro. Originally from Vancouver, she moved to the Yukon Territory in 1991 & now lives on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation & the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, & a member of The Federation of BC Writers & The Haiku Society of America. Her work placed first in The League of Canadian Poets Very Small Verse Contest in 2019, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, & her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). She is the recipient of the 2023 Borealis Prize – The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution.

About the Cold Moon Contests

The Very Small Verse Contest and the Broadsheet Contest are run annually November 15 – January 20. Winners announced on March 21 (World Poetry Day).

Each spring, two outstanding poems will win $300 and publication in the annual Poem In Your Pocket Day Postcard Collection.

The Very Small Verse Contest invites and challenges poets to submit a poem at least six (6) words in length but no more than two hundred (200) characters.

What is a broadsheet? By definition, a broadsheet is a large piece of paper printed with information on one side only. In the world of poetry, a broadsheet is a great format in which to share or showcase one stand-out poem – winning the National Broadsheet Contest will surely do both!