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Poetry contest launched for Vancouver's historical and cultural locations

Know a site to behold?
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A contest is being held for Vancouver's young and emerging poets.

As the city's new Poet Laureate gets settled she's launching a new competition for young, emerging and established wordsmiths.

Fiona Tinwei Lam is Vancouver's sixth Poet Laureate; part of that is creating a legacy project. In Lam's case it's creating the City Poems Contest. The contest focuses on sites within what is now known as Vancouver and the UBC Endowment Lands, she says in an email.

"What historical, cultural or ecological sites in Vancouver intrigue, fascinate, or inspire you?" states an announcement. "Perhaps it is the ancient Musqueam village and burial site at c̓əsnaʔəm, a specific building in historic neighbourhood such as Chinatown or Hogan’s Alley, Deadman’s Island in False Creek, Hastings Park where Japanese Canadians were interned during WW II, or Burrard inlet where 376 passengers on the steamship Komagata Maru lay at anchor for 3 months in 1914 not allowed to disembark, or one of Vancouver’s gardens, hidden streams or remaining old growth trees?"

Poets will have to come up with original, unpublished material to enter the contest. There are other rules, which can be looked over on the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) website.

There are three categories for those wanting to enter:

  • Youth (people in Grade 12 or under)
  • Emerging poets (those who have not published a book)
  • Established poets (those who have already published at least one book)

For each category there are cash prizes of $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third.

The City Poems Contest launches Jan. 16; a special online launch event is being held, with local poets reading their works, including Lam, along with Joanne Arnott and Evelyn Lau. They'll read some of their own poetry about places in Vancouver.