Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 7:30 PM
Special Event: IFOA Weekly

Brigantine Room

235 Queens Quay West
Toronto M5J 2G8
Cost: $10/FREE supporters, students & youth 25 and under

1 stage. 20 poets. 1 winner.11 Poetry NOW logo

Our popular poetry competition returns in 2016 to feature readings by 20 of Canada’s upcoming and established poets. Judges Geoffrey E. Taylor (IFOA’s Director), Jen Tindall (IFOA’s Artistic Associate) and Andy McGuire (winner of 2015 IFOA Poetry Games) will select one winner, who will receive an automatic invitation to read at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors AND an ad for their book in NOW Magazine!

The event will be hosted by NOW‘s Susan G. Cole.

Poetry NOW is presented in partnership with NOW Magazine.

2016 Participants

Ashley-Elizabeth Best is from Cobourg, Ontario. Her work has appeared in Fjords, CV2, Berfrois, Grist, and Ambit Magazine, among other publications. Recently, she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. She lives and writes in Kingston, Ontario. She presents work from Slow States of Collapse (ECW Press, 2016).

Lara Bozabalian is an award-winning writer and author of the bestselling collection of poetry, The Cartographer’s Skin. In both 2014 and 2015, Lara was named Toronto’s Best Poet in the Now Magazine Best of Toronto Poll. She has featured at TEDxIB and lectured, workshopped, and performed her work at several Canadian universities. She will present from Tourist (Tightrope Books, 2016).

Chris Chambers is the author of Lake Where No One Swims and Wild Mouse (with Derek McCormack), which was nominated for the Toronto Book Award. These poems have appeared in Taddle Creek, Jacket, This Magazine, The Literary Review of Canada and were awarded the K. M. Hunter Artist Award. He presents work from Thrillows & Despairos (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers, 2015).

Warren Clements was a writer and editor with The Globe and Mail for thirty years. In addition to penning a comic strip for ten years for the newspaper, he wrote columns on words, humour and home video. Past books include The Full Mountie (McClelland & Stewart), The Globe and Mail Style Book (Penguin, then M&S), Bird Doggerel (Nestlings Press) and How to Get to Heaven and Back (Nestlings Press). He lives in Toronto with his partner, Sandra. He presents work from Aesop, ASAP (Nestlings Press, 2015).

Michael Fraser is a Toronto high school teacher, poet, and writer. He has been published in various national and international journals and anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2013. His manuscript, The Serenity of Stone, won the 2007 Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest and was published in 2008 by Bookland Press. He won FreeFall’s 2014 Poetry Contest and is the creator and former director of the Plasticine Poetry Series. He presents from To Greet Yourself Arriving (Tightrope Books, 2016).

Marty Gervais was appointed Windsor’s first Poet Laureate in 2011. Gervais has written more than a dozen books of poetry, as well as two plays and a novel. He is also an award-winning journalist, poet, photographer and editor. In 1998, he won Toronto’s Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian letters and to emerging writers. In 1996, he was the recipient of the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award and the City of Windsor Mayor’s Award for Literature for his book of poetry, Tearing Into A Summer Day. Gervais also was the recipient of the City of Windsor Mayor’s Award for Literature in 2003 for To Be Now: Selected Poems. He received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012. He presents work from Touch the Darkness (Black Moss Press, 2015).

Susan Glickman is the author of six books of poetry published by Signal Editions/Véhicule Press. She has also published three novels, The Violin Lover (Goose Lane), TheTale-Teller (Cormorant) and Safe as Houses (Cormorant), and one work of literary criticism, The Picturesque and the Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape (MQUP). Of her three children’s books, Bernadette in the Doghouse was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for translation. Susan Glickman lives in Toronto where she works as a freelance editor, teaches writing, and studies art. She presents work from The Smooth Yarrow (Véhicule Press, 2012).

Maureen Hynes’s first book of poetry, Rough Skin, won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry by a Canadian. Subsequent collections are Harm’s Way and Marrow, Willow (Pedlar Press, 2011). She is a winner of the Petra Kenney Poetry Prize (London, England), and her poems have been selected and longlisted for Best Canadian Poems in English 2010 and 2011, and longlisted for the CBC Canada Reads poetry contestWith colleagues, Hynes leads labour history walking tours of Toronto, and has recently become involved in “River Poetry Walks,” focusing on Toronto’s rivers and buried creeks. Hynes is poetry editor for Our Times magazine. She presents work from The Poison Colour (Pedlar Press, 2015).

James Lindsay has been a bookseller for more than a decade. He is also co-owner of Pleasence Records in Toronto, a record label specializing in post-punk, odd-pop and avant-garde sound pieces. He presents work from Our Inland Sea (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers, 2015).

Shannon Maguire’s first collection, fur(l) parachute (2013), was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her Fruit Machine was a finalist for the bpNichol Chapbook Award, and “The Fur Parachute Suite” in CV2 was a finalist for the Manitoba Magazine Award for Best Suite of Poems. Maguire’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the Best American Experimental Writing of 2014, Jacket2, Event, among others. Maguire holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and an MA in English from Brock University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she studies noise, queer and Métis poetics. She presents work from her second book, Myrmurs: An Exploded Sestina (BookThug, 2015).

Kate Marshall Flaherty has poems published in Canadian journals such as CV2, Descant, Grain, Malahat Review, and Vallum, American journals Saranac Review and Nimrod, and international anthologies including Not A Muse: Women’s Poetry Around the World. She was shortlisted for Descant’s Best Canadian Poem, the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, and the Robert Frost Poetry Prize. Her previous books include where we are going (Piquant Press) and Reaching V (Guernica Editions). She is a certified creative writing guide in the AWA (Amherst Writers and Artists) Method. She presents from Stone Soup (Quattro Books, 2015).

Sarah Pinder was born in Sault Ste Marie. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and small magazines, as well as the anthology She’s Shameless. She lives in Toronto. She presents work from Cutting Room (Coach House Press, 2013)

Ruth Roach Pierson has taught women’s history, feminist, European and post-colonial studies and since retiring in 1980, has published three poetry collections: Where No Window Was, Aide-Mémoire, a Governor General Literary Award for Poetry finalist in 2008, and CONTRARY. Ruth currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. She presents work from Realignment (Palimpsest Press, 2015).

Vanessa Shields is a mother and a poet who lives and writes in Windsor, ON. Her passion for poetry and storytelling extends into her work as a film & television producer and the creation of Mouth Piece Storytelling, a storytelling series she created and hosts in Windsor. She presents from her forthcoming third book of poetry, Look At Her (Black Moss Press, September 2016).

Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes is a Jamaican-Canadian poet/educator and former nun. A 2009 Hawthornden Fellow, she has three collections of poetry: Dark Water Songs (2013) Inanna Publications; Travelling Light (2006) long-listed for the 2007 ReLit Poetry Award, and The Fires of Naming (2001), Seraphim Editions. Her publications include poetry and essays in Poetry Wales; Canadian Woman Studies; Poetic Inquiry II: Seeing Caring, Understanding (Sense Publishers, 2016); The Art of Poetic Inquiry (Backalong Books, 2012); Jamaica in the Canadian Experience, (Fernwood, 2012); Jubilation! (Peepal Tree Press, 2012); and the Poet to Poet anthology (Guernica Editions, 2012). She presents from Dark Water Songs (Inanna Publications, 2013).

Blair Trewartha is the author of two chapbooks: Break In (Cactus Press, 2010) and Porcupine Burning (Baseline Press, 2012). His poetry has appeared in Carousel, Prism, Event, Existere, and Contemporary Verse 2. He is a former co-host of The Vagabond Trust Reading Series and a former contributing editor of Misunderstandings Magazine. Blair grew up in Clinton and has worked as a teacher and writer throughout Ontario. He currently resides in Toronto. Easy Fix is his debut full-length collection and has been shortlisted for the 2016 ReLit Award. He presents work from Easy Fix (Palimpsest Press, 2015).

Daniel Scott Tysdal is the author of two previous books of poetry, The Mourner’s Book of Albums and Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method, winner of the ReLit Award for Poetry, the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award, and the John V. Hicks Award. Tysdal’s poems have also appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. His book The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems was recently published by Oxford University Press. He teaches English at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He presents from his collection, Fauxccasional Poems (Goose Lane Editions, 2015).

Award-winning poet and professional artist, Katerina Vaughan Fretwell’s poetry and art reside across Canada and in Denmark, Japan, and across the United States. Recent poetry collections include Class Acts, Angelic Scintillations and Samsara: Canadian in Asia and Shaking Hands with the Night. Her poetic sequence “Quartzite Dialogues” was set to music by Michael Horwood and performed at the Festival of the Sound in 1999 and 2004 and at the Takefu Music Center in Japan in 1999. She is a member of the feminist caucus of the League of Canadian Poets. She lives just south of Parry Sound, Ontario. She presents work from Dancing on a Pin (Inanna Publications, 2015).

Andy Weaver is a Toronto poet who has published two books of poetry, Were the bees (NeWest Press, 2005) and Gangson (NeWest Press, 2011), and a recent chapbook, Concatenations, through above/ground press. He teaches contemporary poetry and poetics at York University. He presents from this (Chaudiere Books, 2015).

Poet, translator, teacher, editor and poetry organizer Bänoo Zan landed in Canada in 2010. She has published more than 120 poems, translations, biographies, and articles in print and online around the globe. Her book, The Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010. She is the founder, an organizer and host of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night) in Toronto. She presents work from Songs of Exile (Guernice Editions, 2016).


  • Susan G. Cole

    Susan G. Cole

    Susan G. Cole is an author, playwright and activist. She is the author of two books on violence against women, the author of A Fertile Imagination, a groundbreaking play about two lesbians trying to have a baby and has been a contributor to the Authors Festival for over 15 years. She is currently Senior Entertainment and Books Editor at NOW Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @susangcole