The 10th Annual Battle of the Bards

March 28, 2018

IFOA's popular poetry competition returns featuring readings by 20 of Canada’s emerging and established poets. 20 eligible poets will be selected at random to read on the PoetryNOW stage and one reader will be selected as the winner. 

Hosted by NOW Magazine’s Susan G. Cole. The poets will be judged by Geoffrey E. Taylor (IFOA Director), Zviko Mhakayakora (IFOA Executive Assistant Programming) and 2017 Poetry NOW winner Stuart Ross.

Calling all poets: Submit your entry into the competition by February 28, 2018.

20 Poets

1 Stage

1 Winner

Am I eligible?


  • Poets must be published by a trade publisher in a collection of your own work (anthologies, literary journals and magazines are not eligible).
  • Books must have been published within the last five years, and be currently in print. 
  • Poets must be available to attend the PoetryNOW event on March 28, 2018 in Toronto.

What's in it for me?


  • Present your work to hundreds of poetry fans live on the PoetryNOW stage
  • Sell you book(s) at the event
  • One lucky poet will win a formal invitation to appear at the 39th edition of the International Festival of Authors (October 18-28, 2018)
  • Receive free advertising in NOWMagazine: one ad to promote your book, and a second one to promote your Festival event

How is the winner selected?


  • 20 poets will be randomly selected from the list of eligible candidates to read their work (maximum three minutes per poet) on the PoetryNOW stage on March 28, 2018.
  • Three judges will select one winner from among the event readers, based on the following criteria....

How do I submit?

  • To be considered for an event reading, ask your publisher to submit the form below on your behalf by Wednesday, February 28 at 5pm.
  • Of all eligible poets, 20 will be selected at random to participate in the competition. 
  • Publishers will be notified of their selected submissions by March 2, and must then send three copies of your book, a synopsis of the book, your author bio, photo and book cover image.
  • Participants will be announced on March 8.

2017 Finalists

Event Location

Brigantine Room
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2G8