The Lesley Strutt Annual Poetry Contest

The Lesley Strutt Poetry Contest is an award that provides a prize for the single best poem submitted to our judges. This contest is open to all poets (professional, emerging, and first-time) in Canada, and is run each summer in memory of poet and friend Lesley Strutt.

Remembering Lesley Strutt 

The life of Lesley Enid Strutt (March 10, 1953 – February 3, 2021) revolved around her loved ones, her community and on poetry. One of her last wishes was to help establish an Award that would celebrate all three well into the future. Born in Quebec, she eventually called the town of Merrickville, Ontario, home.

Lesley’s own poetry was widely published in literary magazines and chapbooks, and Inanna Press, who published her Young Adult novel, On the Edge, in 2019, will publish her full collection, Window Ledge, in 2021, but one of her main interests was to wake up poetry in others, to stimulate new writing, and to share the joys of reading or listening to poetry. Her enthusiasm for new writers through the years she was Associate Representative on The League of Canadian Poets led to the creation of Fresh Voices, a space on the League’s website for poems only by associate members, because

Her passion for trees gave her the idea of asking the League representatives of all regions of Canada if they would edit a section of an anthology on trees, which would be sold as a fundraiser for The League of Canadian Poets, and Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees was born.

In her last weeks she worked with a team of poetry-loving volunteers in Merrickville who have since raised, and continue to raise, thousands of dollars to support this Award. In this way, everything and everyone she loved comes together in gratitude for those who make poetry, or who simply love it.

See Honouring Lesley Strutt for more initiatives in memory of Lesley or to donate.

Submissions Guidelines

  • This contest will open in Summer 2021. Stay tuned for more details.
  • This contest will accept poems in English, French and Innu.  
  • This annual contest has an entry fee of $5. If you are unable to pay the contest fee, please send email to 
  • More details forthcoming