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Poem of the Year Contest

Who will write the Poem of 2013?


In 2013, Arc will be awarding one $5,000 grand prize to the Poem of the Year!


Deadline: February 1, 2013


Contest Guidelines

Contest Entry:
Entry fee is $32 (Cdn), which includes a one-year Canadian subscription of Arc*

Contest entry fees may be paid online or by cheque or money order mailed with contest submissions.

*or two issues to US entrants, or one issue to overseas entrants. Entrants who are currently subscribers may pass along their contest subscription or complimentary issues to a friend. Please include the name and address to which the contest subscription is destined.


  • All contest submissions must be submitted by post mail.
  • All cheques or money orders must be in Canadian funds and made out to the Arc Poetry Society.
  • Arc welcomes Poem of the Year entries from Canada, the United States, and around the world. Entrants outside Canada must submit entry fees in Canadian funds. Please include a cheque in Canadian funds, use the online payment option or mail a money order in Canadian funds.
  • Entrants may submit up to two unpublished poems with each $32 fee (extra poems: $5 per poem).
  • No email submissions accepted.
  • Length of each poem must not exceed 100 lines.
  • Entrant’s name, address, e-mail and phone number must not appear on the poems, but instead on a separate sheet that also lists the titles of the poems entered.
  • Judging is blind.
  • No entrants (including winners, honourable mentions, or authors of Editor’s Choice poems) may substitute, before, during, or after judging, a revision of any poem already submitted to the contest.
  • No poems will be returned.

Deadline: Entries must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2013.

Shortlist: 50 shortlisted poems, pending permission of their authors, will be eligible for the Readers’ Choice Award. Visit this site between March 15 and April 15, 2013 to read our Readers’ Choice selections and cast your vote!

Publication: Winning poems will be published in Arc‘s Summer 2013 issue

Privacy Notice: Unless you indicate otherwise, Arc may share addresses of entrants to the 2013 Poem of the Year Contest with similar literary magazines or related organizations for promotional purposes.


Send entries to:

Poem of the Year Contest
Arc Poetry Magazine
PO Box 81060
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1P 1B1


Read press releases and winning poems from past contests.



Past winners

1st Prize Jacob McAr­thur Mooney The Fever Dreamer
Reader’s Choice Michael Fraser Going to Cape
1st Prize Anne Marie Todkill Wash Day
2nd Prize Maurice Mierau The impassioned ex-formalist Pulitzer Prize-winning womanizing alcoholic jumps off a bridge
3rd Prize Ian Williams Please Print Clearly in Block Letters
Reader’s Choice Barbara Pelman Between the Heartbeats
1st Prize Shane Neilson New Year’s Day
2nd Prize Bren Simmers Chickens
3rd Prize Lise Gaston Fuse
Reader’s Choice Susan Braley Traces
1st Prize Patricia Young The Night of the Apocalypse Yahweh Tinkles the Ivories
2nd Prize Susan Buis In alabastrine (Edith Lake)
3rd Prize E. Alex Pierce Common Loon
Reader’s Choice Jim Johnstone Canadian Gothic
1st Prize Patricia Young The Hickock Girls in the Front Pew Address the Platypus
2nd Prize Karen Solie Prayers for the Sick
3rd Prize Moez Surani Chopping Wood on Ivan’s Farm
Honourable Mention Aurian Haller excerpt from Speechless
Reader’s Choice Susan Stenson To See You Like This
1st Prize Susan Elmslie Box
2nd Prize Degan Davis Winter
3rd Prize Aurian Haller selection from Seamless
Final Judge

John Steffler

1st Prize Bren Simmers Out Walking
2nd Prize Michael Reynolds Castor Gulo (poem of a beaver becoming a wolverine)
3rd Prize Heidi Garnett Water Rituals
Final Judge

Don Domanski

1st Prize Sandra Kasturi Old Men, Smoking
2nd Prize Irene Livingston Open My Drawers
3rd Prize Karen Hofmann Cock Pheasant
Final Judge

Mildred Tremblay

1st Prize Susan Stenson The Crazy Maps
2nd Prize matt robinson how we keep it together
3rd Prize Linda Rogers The Walled Garden
Final Judge

Lorna Crozier

1st Prize Harold Rhenisch Tao Hill
2nd Prize Jannie Edwards Blood Opera
The Raven Tango Poems
3rd Prize Deanna Young Swimming Lessons
Final Judge

Derek Wynand

1st Prize Maureen Scott Harris Be the River
2nd Prize Alison Pick Infant Abandoned In High Park
3rd Prize Deanna Young Recent Sightings
Final Judge

Mary Dalton

1st Prize Joelene Heathcote How the Dying Move to Water
2nd Prize Maureen Scott Harris The Drowned Boy
3rd Prize Pamela Swanigan How to Win at Rummy
Final Judge

Steven Heighton

1st Prize Sue McLeod God of Pockets
2nd Prize Sue Wheeler Darkening
3rd Prize Michael V. Smith Particulars
Final Judge

Elizabeth Philips

1st Prize Richard Lemm Rationed
2nd Prize Elizabeth Philips Reply to the Minister of Lilies
3rd Prize Jim Roberts Myth, Ritual and the Yorkdale Cloverleaf
Final Judge

Brian Bartlett

1st Prize Wayne Tompkins Hidden Register
2nd Prize Anne Simpson Meanwhile, in Ithaca
3rd Prize Donna Langevin My Son, Improvising on the Violin to Fauré
Final Judge

Patricia Young

1st Prize Marlene Cookshaw Open and Close
2nd Prize Barbara Schott Blue Snow
3rd Prize Linda Rogers Adagio in G Minor
Final Judge

Barry Dempster

1st Prize Mildred Tremblay Astonishing Creations
2nd Prize Sue Wheeler Negative Space, 1980
3rd Prize Sophia Kaszuba Good Food
Final Judge

Robyn Sarah