20 poets. 1 stage. 1 winner.
Toronto’s popular poetry competition celebrates its 10th anniversary, featuring the readings of 20 dynamic poets.
Judges Geoffrey E. Taylor (IFOA’s Director), Stuart Ross (winner of 2017 Battle of the Bards) and Zviko Mhakayakora (IFOA’s Executive Assistant Programming) will select one winner, who will receive an invitation to read at the 39th edition of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors AND advertising for their book in NOW Magazine!
The event will be hosted by NOW‘s Susan G. Cole.
To meet the finalists visit ifoa.org/poetrynow.
The Battle of the Bards is presented in partnership with NOW Magazine.
Jonathan Bennett is the author of seven books, including two previous collections of poetry, Civil and Civic and Here is my street, this tree I planted. He is a winner of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Literature. Born in Vancouver, raised in Sydney, Australia, Bennett lives in the village of Keene, Ontario.
Stéphane Bouquet is a key figure in French contemporary poetry. He is the author of many volumes of French poetry published by Champ Vallon, and is about to be translated into English. He is also a screenwriter and a film critic. Stéphane Bouquet has translated some American poets (including Robert Creeley and Paul Blackburn) into French. Attached to strong themes such as homosexual desire, loneliness and love, his work is shaking literary genres, and gives us a reflection full of sensibility and engagement about today's society. Stéphane Bouquet appeared in the recent anthology Writing the real: a bilingual anthology of contemporary French poetry, directed by Enitharmon Press in 2016.
Nicholas Bradley is a poet, literary critic, and scholarly editor. His first book of poetry, Rain Shadow, was published this year by the University of Alberta Press. He is also the author of a chapbook—Five Sudden Goats: Rocky Mountain Poems—and his poetry, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals in Canada and the U.S. He lives with his family in Victoria, British Columbia, and is currently writing a second collection of poems.
Michael e. Casteels is the author of over a dozen chapbooks of poetry. In 2012 he was nominated for the emerging artist award in The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. His first full-length collection of poetry, The Last White House at the End of the Row of White Houses, was published in autumn of 2016 by Invisible Publishing. He lives in Kingston, where he runs Puddles of Sky Press.
Ron Charach is an author and practicing psychiatrist who lives in Toronto. He has lectured in both Canada and the United States on creativity. For sixteen years he hosted a column on medicine and poetry in The Medical Post, where he showcased the work of other physician/poets. His books are featured on the New York University website on the medical humanities and his medically related poems are taught in several medical humanities programs. He has published many letters in Canadian and American newspapers, most often on the subject of public safety. His 2001 collection, Dungenessque, won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for poetry. Like his psychotherapy work with patients in the creative arts and sciences, Ron Charach’s poetry draws from the twin streams of literature and the healing arts.
Susan G. Cole is an author, playwright and activist. She’s 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. She has been a contributor to IFOA for over 15 years.
Pino Coluccio's poems have appeared in The Walrus and three anthologies. His first collection, First Comes Love, came out in 2005. He lives in Toronto.
Rocco de Giacomo is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in literary journals in Canada, Australia, England, Hong Kong and the US. His work has recently been accepted for publication in The Windsor Review and Grain, and has most recently been published in The Antigonish Review. In 2009, his first full-length poetry collection, Ten Thousand Miles Between Us, was launched through Quattro Books. His second, Every Night of Our Lives - on the theme of dreams and the domestic adventure - was published with Guernica Editions in the fall of 2016. Rocco's latest collection, Brace Yourselves - on the representation of the individual as it relates to the Zeitgeist - was published in January, 2018, through Quattro Books. Rocco lives in Toronto with his wife, Lisa Keophila, a fabric artist, and his daughters, Ava and Matilda.
A former student of Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka through the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, Adebe DeRango Adem is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Ex Nihilo and Terra Incognita. Ex Nihilo was nominated for the prestigious Dylan Thomas Prize, while her most recent book, Terra Incognita, published by Inanna Publications in 2015, was a finalist for the Pat Lowther award. Poems from the collection were also longlisted for the inaugural Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, as judged by award-winning American poet Claudia Rankine.
David Groulx was raised in Northern Ontario. He is proud of his Aboriginal roots--Ojibwe Indian and French Canadian. David's poetry has appeared in over 160 publications in 16 countries, and has been translated into Spanish, German, French, and Ojibwa. He lives in Ottawa, Canada. Wabigoon River Poems is David's eighth book.
Angela Hibbs is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Sin Eater (Arbeiter Ring Press, 2014), Wanton (Insomniac Press, 2009) and Passport (DC Books, 2006). She lives in Peterborough, Ontario.
Margo LaPierre is a Canadian poet and visual artist. Her first collection of poetry, Washing Off the Raccoon Eyes, was published by Guernica Editions in 2017. She completed her B.A. in Philosophy at Ryerson University and is currently pursuing a Publishing certificate, also at Ryerson. Her poems have been published in CAROUSEL, The Feathertale Review, filling Station, Bywords Literary Quarterly, Echolocation, and EAT IT: A Literary Cookbook of Food, Sex and Women’s Writing, amongst others. Her poem “Bear Skin Rug” won the Silver award for Poetry at the Alberta Magazine Publishers Awards.
Allison LaSorda lives in Toronto. A recipient of scholarships from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Vermont Studio Center, she holds an MFA from the University of Guelph. Her writing, across genres, has appeared in Brick: A Literary Journal, Shenandoah, The Fiddlehead, Hazlitt, and others. Her debut collection, Stray, is out with icehouse poetry / Goose Lane Editions.
Karen Mulhallen has published 22 books and numerous articles on the arts and has spent her life working on magazines and journals while also lecturing, teaching literature, creative writing, and fine art. She has edited more than 150 issues of Descant magazine and published and lectured widely in North America and Europe. Karen’s work has been published in Serbo-Croatian, Italian, Turkish, Bosnian, French, and Spanish. karenmulhallen.com
Shane Neilson is a poet and physician who, in addition to several collections of poetry, has published in the genres of memoir, short fiction, biography and literary criticism. He is currently a fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, a Vanier Scholar at McMaster University and editor for Victoria, B.C. publisher Frog Hollow Press. Though he lives in Oakville, Ontario, all of his work is rooted in rural New Brunswick.
Rebecca Păpucaru's work has appeared in journals such as The Antigonish Review, PRISM international, The Malahat Review, The Dalhousie Review and Event. She has been anthologized in I Found it at the Movies: An Anthology of Film Poems (Guernica Editions, 2014) and Best Canadian Poetry in English (2010). Her debut collection The Panic Room was a finalist for the A.M. Klein Award Prize for Poetry. She lives in Sherbrooke, She lives in Sherbrooke, QC.
Cora Siré is the author of the poetry collection, Signs of Subversive Innocents (Signature Editions). Her novel, Behold Things Beautiful, was a finalist for QWF’s Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2017 and The Other Oscar was shortlisted for Quattro Books’ Ken Klonsky Novella Contest in 2015. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Arc Poetry, Literary Review of Canada, Geist, carte blanche and Montréal Serai as well as in numerous anthologies including The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books, 2009). She lives in Montreal.
Born in Istanbul, Caroline Szpak is a Polish-Canadian writer who currently lives in Toronto. A graduate of the University of Victoria writing program, her poetry and fiction have appeared in This Magazine, The Capilano Review, subTerrain, Poetry is Dead, CV2, and in the chapbooks Expense Account, Garland Get Your Gun, and The Pomeranian Front. Slinky Naive is her first collection of poetry.
Aaron Tucker is the author of four books, Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp (Bookthug; 2017) and the poetry collection punchlines (Mansfield Press) as well as two scholarly texts, Virtual Weaponry: The Militarized Internet in Popular Cinema and Interfacing with the Internet in Popular Cinema (both with Palgrave Macmillan). His current collaborative project, Loss Sets, translates poems into sculptures which are then 3D printed; he is also the co-creator of The ChessBard, an app that transforms chess games into poems. In addition, he is a professor in the English department at Ryerson University. More info can be found at aarontucker.ca.
Paul Vermeersch is a poet, editor, and teacher. His work has been a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, and the Trillium Book Award. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph for which he received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, where he is senior editor of Wolsak & Wynn Publishers Ltd.
Catriona Wright is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her poems have appeared in Prism International, Prairie Fire, Rusty Toque, Lemon Hound, The Best Canadian Poetry 2015, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for The Walrus‘s Poetry Prize, Arc‘s Poem of the Year Contest, and a National Magazine Award. In 2014, she won Matrix Magazine‘s LitPop Award. She is the poetry editor for The Puritan and a co-founder of Desert Pets Press, a chapbook press. Her debut collection, Table Manners, is out with Véhicule Press.