2022 CLC Poetry Contest

There's Still Time to Enter!

Images taken from the CLC website: https://www.ualberta.ca/canadian-literature-centre/research/poetry-contest.html

The 2022 CLC Poetry Contest is accepting entries until March 14, so there is still time to participate!  This year’s theme is “Listening/écoute.” It is offered in collaboration with the Canadian Literature Centre (CLC), Athabasca University, the University of Alberta, and MacEwan University.  Students from participating schools are encouraged to submit one entry in English or French.  The winning poem will be announced in April, published on the CLC and Edmonton Poetry Festival websites, and be awarded a $500 prize in addition to “a few surprises.”

The contest has been bilingual since its inauguration in 2014.  It opened to Athabasca and MacEwan University students in 2019, and, that year, the prize more than tripled.

It is an excellent opportunity to showcase Athabasca University’s student talent and unique perspectives.  You can let the judges know what listening means to you as an AU student.

More information on submitting your poem, and some past entries, can be found here.

Why am I Participating?

I am not a poet.  I’ve read a handful of poems, when convenient, and written even less than that—if the mood struck.  After reading last year’s winning entry, titled “When Honey Drips,” and written by Céline Caruso Dixon, a third-year student at the University of Alberta, I closed the web page.  It is excellent, on a completely different level than anything I can write.  For a few hours, I decided that there was no reason to participate since I couldn’t win.  Eventually I went back to the CLC website, re-read the poems, and clicked around their other content.  I’m glad I did.

If, like me, this is your first time hearing about them, the Canadian Literature Centre’s mission is “to foster knowledge, reading, and appreciation of Canadian literature, in English and in French, with a special focus on Indigenous, minoritized, and marginalized writing.” They provide events, podcasts, seminars, and more relating to their mission, including this contest.  I encourage you to explore their website and discover their unique content.

This contest is about their mission.  It is an opportunity for those in their element to showcase their art, shift our perspectives, and make us think about things.  Poems like Céline’s deserve to be read and rewarded, and contests like this one provide that opportunity.  I am excited to read this year’s winning poem and hear the writer’s take on “Listening/écoute,” and I think you should be too!

But I think this contest is also about encouraging people to move outside their comfort zone and push their boundaries.  As students, it is a chance provided to us to do something we wouldn’t usually do: grow as writers and think about our world differently.  Even if it becomes the only poem you write in your life, you will learn something.

Since seeing this contest, I’ve read more poetry than I had in several months and started writing again for fun.  I will put forward my best effort to create a sincere and honest submission that I can be proud to send in.  I don’t expect it to be good, just like I wouldn’t expect the first few notes on a neglected musical instrument to be, but I’ve realized that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy trying any less.