Books

Nine students win $25K in prizes at 2020 Poetry In Voice finals

As a result of COVID-19, this year’s national finals, hosted by former CBC Radio personality Johanne Blais, took place online.
Nine students from across Canada came out on top at the 2020 Poetry In Voice national poetry recitation competition. (Poetry In Voice)

Nine students from across Canada came out on top at the 2020 Poetry In Voice national poetry recitation competition, collectively winning $25,000 in prizes.

As a result of COVID-19, this year's national finals, hosted by former CBC Radio personality Johanne Blais, took place online.

In past years, the participants would recite their chosen poems in front of a live audience. This year's 24 semifinalists from high schools and cégeps filmed their recitations.

The recorded videos were judged by a panel of poets, including Joséphine Bacon, Gwen Benaway, Moe Clark, Anne-Marie Desmeules, Pierre Nepveu and Greg Santos. 

"To recite poetry in front of a camera in an empty room is already quite something. But to manage to do it with such emotion and conviction is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations to all," Scott Griffin, the founder of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie, said of this year's participants.

In the English stream, Nawal Semir won the first prize of $5,000 along with $1,000 for the library of Glenlawn Collegiate in Winnipeg — with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books — for the best combined score of three recitations in English.

Joyce Chen won the second prize of $1,000, and $500 for the library of Little Flower Academy in Vancouver for the purchase of poetry books.

Divyan Karunakaran won the third prize of $500, and $250 for the library of Eric Hamber Secondary School in Vancouver for the purchase of poetry books.

In the French stream, Minh Duc Hoang won the first prize of $5,000 and $1,000 for the library of École internationale de Montréal — with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books — for the best combined score of one poem in English and one poem in French.

Léane Plouffe won the second prize of $1,000 and $500 for the library of Collège Lionel-Groulx, Ste-Thérèse, Que., for the purchase of poetry books.

Delicia Akimana won the third prize of $500 and $250 for the library of St. Joseph's Catholic High School, Windsor, Ont., for the purchase of poetry books.

Jenny Wang won the bilingual competition's first prize of $5,000 and $1,000 for the library of Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in Montreal — with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books — for the best combined score of one poem in English and one poem in French.

Lysiane Kouakou won the second prize of $1,000 and $500 for the library of Sir Winston Churchill High School in Calgary for the purchase of poetry books.

Farah Elnakoury won the third prize of $500 and $250 for the library of École secondaire Etienne-Brûlé in Toronto for the purchase of poetry books.

The semifinalists were also given $500 each, in lieu of the opportunity to travel to and experience Montreal as part of the national finals.

This year, over 20,000 students learned a poem by heart for the contest. School champions then entered the online qualifiers and the 24 top-scoring students advanced to the semifinals.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now