In an age marked by global quarantines and climate change, the Montreal International Poetry Prize presents people everywhere with the opportunity to engage in a revolutionary creative community in a digital space, turning the often solitary pursuit of writing poetry into a communal endorsement of the arts and opening new digital frontiers for poetry and artistic connection in a time of crisis and isolation.
The Montreal International Poetry Prize, a biennial competition founded in 2010 on donations from Leonard Cohen and Asa Boxer, will award $20,000 CAD to one poem of 40 or fewer lines. This year’s judge, distinguished Pulitzer-Prize winning American poet Yusef Komunyakaa, will select a winner from the 50-poem shortlist selected by an international jury of acclaimed poets hailing from Canada, Australia, the US, the UK, Haiti, Iran, and India.
Shortlisted poems will be published online and in print in a global poetry anthology published by Véhicule Press of Montreal. The Prize has already received more than 1,800 entries from over 60 countries.
Deadline: 1 June.
The Prize’s cash award is crowdfunded from entry fees, and its digital application allows entrants to donate an entry fee to an unknown poet who cannot otherwise afford to enter. For many, entering the Prize in itself is an experiment in community building and altruism in the arts.
International prize entrants both join and endorse a digital poetry network collectively working to disregard the limits of status, border, and stratification so often constraining major national prizes in the arts. A blind, mobile-friendly submission and selection process removes barriers for entry, allowing people of all ages, creeds, and nationalities to engage in a global arts community.
Past winners include a Torontonian bartender, an Anglican priest, and a celebrated Australian poet. This year, entries have already come in from 61 countries from all regions of the globe — from Saudi Arabia, St. Lucia, and Hong Kong to Pakistan, Poland, and Cameroon.
— The Montreal International Poetry Prize
— Professor Michael Nicholson, Department of English, McGill University
— Professor Miranda Hickman, Department of English, McGill University
— Professor Eli MacLaren, Department of English, McGill University