Poetry Contest 2021: The Winners

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the winners of our 2021 Poetry Contest. A huge congratulations to the following three poets, whose works have been carefully selected by our esteemed judge, Kama La Mackerel, after hours of deliberation. We won’t keep you waiting any longer: here they are!

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First Place: Silent Lake and Pretty Palimpsests, by Margo LaPierre

Margo LaPierre is a queer, bipolar editor and author of Washing Off the Raccoon Eyes (Guernica Editions, 2017). She serves as newsletter editor of Arc Poetry Magazine and is a member of poetry collective VII. She won the 2020 subTerrain Lush Triumphant Award for Fiction. Her work has been published in the /temz/ ReviewRoom MagazineArc Poetryfilling StationCAROUSELPRISM and others. She is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. Find her on Twitter @margolapierre.

This poem, loosely written as a glosa, draws on four lines of poetry from Gwendolyn MacEwen, which act as an epigraph to the poem while also creating a refrain that closes each of the stanzas. This poem skillfully brings forth a suite of imagery that gently elicits all of our senses. The rhythm of the text acts as a meditative hum, immersing us in water, drawing us in and out of the lake. Through deft lyricism, this poem makes space for silence and for the histories contained in silence. – Kama La Mackerel

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Second Place: Escarpment, by Maria Ford

Maria Ford is a Canadian writer who has authored poetry and countless other things since grade school. She has holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English literature. Her poetry has been honoured in contests and published in journals such as Pangyrus, Pulp Literature, Whetstone, blue bluffalo, cokefish, and was featured in WTN’s Writing on the Wall. She has self-published two chapbooks and is currently writing a creative non-fiction/docupoetry book. She works as a brand consultant and freelance writer and editor. Find her on Instagram @progressivetense , or on Twitter @mphraseologist.

In this poem, personal longing acts as a metaphor for the collective sense of waiting for things to get better regarding the current ecological crisis we are living through. Vivid, contemporary, politically relevant, this poem draws on the changing nature of the territories, fauna and flora to interrogate whether certainty is possible at all. Through eloquent imagery, we are brought into a personal reflection on stillness, change and hope. – Kama La Mackerel

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Honourable Mention: an epiphany/psychotic episode, by Moni Brar

Born in rural India, Moni Brar is a writer, educator, and survivor who now gratefully divides her time between the unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and the Treaty 7 Region. Her writing explores the connections of time, place and identity in the immigrant experience, diasporic guilt, the legacy of trauma resulting from colonization, and mental health. Her work has received multiple nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She believes art contains the possibility of healing.

This poem is compelling, both in its form and its rhythm. It brings forth a well-composed oral quality through which sharp imagery is projected. Acting at once as a testimony and as a witnessing, the poem, in a distinctive voice, draws us into a reflection about mental health, institutions, safe spaces and time. – Kama La Mackerel

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You can find Margo and Maria’s beautiful poetry in the upcoming Room 45.2, which will be published in the Summer of 2022. As for the honourable mention, you can read Moni’s fantastic poem right now via the link above.

We would like to thank every poet who shared their work with us and our judge, and trusted us with their vulnerable and beautiful words. And, of course, we couldn’t be more grateful to Kama La Mackerel for the time and care they put into selecting a shortlist and three winners – a decision that does not come easy! In case you missed the previous announcements, you can check out our Poetry longlist and shortlist, here.

Room‘s annual poetry contest will open again next year on June 15.

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