Awards & Contests

The League administers several awards and contests annually, from book awards to spoken word awards to single-poem contests and more. Find information about deadlines, eligibility, and submissions on this page.

Book awards

Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

for a debut book of poetry

The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized authors’ tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes a first book of poetry published by a Canadian. The award carries a $2,000 prize and is awarded annually in May.

Pat Lowther Memorial Award

for a book of poetry by a woman

This award is inclusive of cis women, trans women, and non-binary individuals who feel comfortable being recognized by a women’s prize.

The Pat Lowther Memorial Award is awarded memory of the late Pat Lowther, whose career was cut short by her untimely death in 1975.  The Pat Lowther Memorial Award carries a $2000 prize and is awarded annually in May.

Raymond Souster Award

for a book of poetry by a League member

The Raymond Souster Award honours Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets, and carries a $2000 prize, awarded annually in May.

Spoken Word awards

LCP Spoken Word Award

Launched in winter 2023, the LCP Spoken Word Award consists of two awards, presented annually to two poets for a single poem or suite of poems up to 10 minutes in length. 

Prize: Two prizes of $1000

With this award, the League will celebrate the wide range of styles represented within the spoken word genre, from dub poetry to spoken word poetry to sound poetry and beyond. This award will recognize two poems or suites of poems that represent two distinct schools of spoken word poetry. 

This award has been created to celebrate the specific art of spoken word and performance poetry: that is, poems that have been constructed with the specific intent of being read or performed aloud. Submissions and the artist’s statement should reflect this intent. Please note that spoken word and performance poetry do not need to be memorized to be performed. 

Each submission much be accompanied by an entry fee of $20. Discounted entry fees ($5) are available to Black, Indigenous, racialized, and LGBTQI2S+ poets; full fee waivers are also available through the submission form.

Open for submissions June 1 - August 10, 2024

Limit of one entry per poet.

LCP Spoken Word Award: Inaugural winners

Join the League of Canadian Poets in congratulating Adeena Karasick and Ian Keteku, the inaugural winners of the LCP Spoken Word Award!

Read More about LCP Spoken Word Award: Inaugural winners

Lillian Allen Prize & the Lillian Allen Emerging Artist Prize

In 2024 the Ontario Arts Council, in partnership with the League of Canadian Poets, created the Lillian Allen Prize and the Lillian Allen Emerging Artist Prize to recognize and celebrate spoken word poetry.

The prizes are named after Canadian poet and spoken word artist Lillian Allen. Her distinctive approach to poetry through language, music and social consciousness continues to capture attention and make change. She embodies the excellence, creativity, and professionalism that she has brought to the form, and we recognize her community building and generosity of spirit by naming this prize in her honour.

The Lillian Allen Prize supports and promotes a spoken word artist with five or more years’ experience, and the Lillian Allen Emerging Artist Prize is for a spoken word artist with less than five years’ experience.

Prize: Two prizes of $2,000

These annual prizes will alternate between recognizing poets based in Ontario and in Canada. In year one the prizes will recognize poets in Ontario, and in year two the prizes will recognize poets based anywhere in Canada.

Submissions and nominations open May 15, 2024.

Le prix Lillian Allen et le prix Lillian Allen de la relève

Le Conseil des arts de l’Ontario, en partenariat avec la Ligue des poètes canadiens (LPC), a créé ces prix en 2024 pour récompenser et célébrer la poésie orale.

Les prix portent le nom de Lillian Allen, poète canadienne et artiste de la création parlée. Son approche particulière de la poésie par l’entremise du langage, de la musique et de la conscience sociale continue de captiver les esprits et d’entraîner le changement. Lillian Allen incarne les qualités qu’elle a apportées à la poésie orale – excellence, créativité, professionnalisme – et nous avons nommé ces prix en son honneur pour rendre hommage à son sens de la communauté et à son esprit de générosité.

Le prix Lillian Allen récompense une ou un poète ayant au moins cinq ans d’expérience, et le prix Lillian Allen de la relève récompense une ou un poète ayant moins de cinq ans d'expérience.

Montant: Deux prix de 2 000 $ chacun 

Les prix récompenseront en alternance des poètes établis en Ontario et au Canada. La première année, les prix récompenseront des poètes de l'Ontario et, la deuxième année, des poètes établis où que ce soit au Canada.

Les soumission et les mises en cadidature seront ouvertes le 15 mai, 2024.

The deadline for submissions and self-nominations is July 31, 2024 at 11:59pm ET.

The deadline for nominations is June 30, 2024, at 11:59pm ET.

La date limite des autocandidatures et soumissions est le 31 juillet à 23h59.

La date limite des mises en candidature est le 30 juin à 23h59.

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.

2024 Cold Moon Contest winners

Join the League of Canadian Poets in congratulating Kelly Madden and Jessica Lee McMillan, winners of the 2024 Cold Moon Contests!

Read More about 2024 Cold Moon Contest winners

Summer Lovin' Contests

The Lesley Strutt Poetry Contest and the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto Foundation Poetry Award are run annually, June 1 – August 10. Winners announced September 20.

Our jurors will evaluate each entry based on its originality, creativity, emotional impact, and mastery of language. The winners and honourable mentions will receive recognition on poets.ca, and one outstanding poem from each contest will receive $500 and appear in Poetry Pause!

Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth

Runs annually from September 15 to April 30. Winners announced in June.

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 cash prizes ($450, 400, and $350) awarded in both the Junior (grades 7 to 9) and Senior (grades 10 to 12) categories.

2023 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth – Winning Poems

Join the League of Canadian Poets in celebrating the six winners of the 2023 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize!

Read More about 2023 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for Canadian Youth – Winning Poems

Contest winners and finalists

Special recognition awards

Colleen Thibaudeau Award for Outstanding Contribution

Nominations are accepted from January 20 – February 10 annually. Winner announced during National Volunteer Week

The League is honoured to recognize the contribution of member volunteers through the Colleen Thibaudeau Outstanding Contribution Award. Established in 2012, the award is offered to a League member in recognition of a substantial volunteer project or series of projects that nurture and support poets and poetry across Canada. This award was established in memory of Colleen Thibaudeau (1925 – 2012), an Honorary Member and lifelong supporter of the League of Canadian poets, to show her support for the League, which was a source of friendship and recognition for her in her lifetime.

Honorary Membership Award

Selected by the Board of Directors. Announced annually in June.

The League is proud to welcome new honorary members into our ranks each year. The Honorary Membership award is presented to distinguished individuals as a mark of distinction and appreciation for special achievements and contributions to the art of poetry.

Life Membership Award

Selected by the Board of Directors. Announced annually in June.

Every year, the League is honoured to induct new Life Members into our ranks. Life Members are selected for their incredible contribution to poets and poetry in Canada, and the award is presented as a mark of distinction and appreciation for special achievements.

Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award

This prize is no longer active. The last year it was awarded was 2021.

The Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award was an annual literary prize crafted specifically to highlight the unique strengths and values of spoken word poetry, recognizing an established Canadian poet with a history of achievement and performance in spoken word.

Leon E. and Ann M. Pavlick Poetry Prize

This one-time prize was awarded in 2021.

The Leon E. & Ann M. Pavlick Poetry Prize was a one-time prize seeking to honour and encourage a Canadian poet whose work displays ample creativity and promise as well as an outstanding poetry group or collective with a positive and ongoing impact on poetry in Canada