Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 7:30 PM
Performance, Poetry NOW, Special Event: Year-Round

Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre

235 Queens Quay West
Toronto M5J 2G8
Cost: $10
Group photo of Battle of the Bards poets 2018

2018 Battle of the Bards Participants


Logo for 11th Annual PoetryNOW

20 poets. 1 stage. 1 winner.

Toronto’s popular poetry competition, PoetryNOW: The Battle of the Bards, is back for its 11th year to feature readings from 20 dynamic poets and showcase a diverse range of voices, themes and poetic genres. Each poet will be given three minutes to read their work, which can range from comical to contemplative.

The Prize: One poet will win an invitation to read at the 40th Anniversary edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors (October 24 – November 3, 2019) and have their book and Festival event advertised in NOW Magazine.

The winner will be selected by a judging panel composed of Geoffrey E. Taylor, TIFA Director, and established poets Andy McGuire (Country Club) and Alison Pick (Strangers With The Same Dream).

The live event will be hosted by Susan G. Cole.


Submissions Now Open

Submissions are now open for PoetryNOW: 11th Annual Battle of the Bards! Poets who wish to read their work in the competition must have their publishing representative complete the entry form below.

The 20 reading finalists will be selected by random draw from all eligible submissions, and announced on March 12. Publishers will be notified by March 4.

Eligibility Criteria: Poets must have at least one published title to their name to be eligible. In keeping with TIFA’s mandate to promote new literature and new voices, participants’ books must have been published within the past five years and be currently in print with a trade publisher. Poets must be able to attend the live competition event on April 3, 2019 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, and must submit their expression of interest by the deadline date of March 1, 2019 at 5pm.


Battle of the Bards winner Paul Vermeersch on stage

Poet Paul Vermeersch, 2018 winner of PoetryNOW: Battle of the Bards


  • Susan G. Cole

    Susan G. Cole is an author, playwright and activist. She’s the author of two books on violence against women, the author of A Fertile Imagination, a groundbreaking play about two lesbians trying to have a baby. She has been a contributor to IFOA for over 15 years.

  • Andy McGuire

    Andy McGuire is the author of Country Club. Most recently he collaborated with visual artist Kim Dorland on the artist’s book Same Old Future. McGuire lives in Huron County.

  • Alison Pick

    Alison Pick was the 2002 Bronwen Wallace Award winner for the most promising young writer in Canada. She has published three acclaimed volumes of poetry, and her first novel, The Sweet Edge, was a Globe and Mail "Best Book". Her second novel, Far to Go, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize, won the Canadian Jewish Award for Fiction, and was named a "Top Ten of 2010" book by the Toronto Star and NOW Magazine. It was also published internationally to acclaim. Her memoir, Between Gods, was published internationally, was a finalist for the BC National Award for Nonfiction, a Globe and Mail "Best Book" of 2014, and a national bestseller. She presents Strangers With The Same Dream.