Poetry NOW: 6th annual Battle of the Bards

1 stage. 20 poets. 1 winner.

The popular poetry competition returns in 2014 to feature 20 of Canada’s upcoming and established poets! One poet will receive an automatic invitation to read at the 35th annual International Festival of Authors AND an ad for their book in NOW!

Poetry NOW is presented in partnership with NOW Magazine.11 Poetry NOW logo

Poetry NOW FAQ

IFOA is inviting submissions for Poetry NOW: 6th annual Battle of the Bards. However, with a special event comes some special rules. Even if you’ve submitted/presented work here before, please read on to find out what’s what:

AUTHORS

So what’s this all about, anyway?

In 2009, IFOA posted its first-ever open call for submissions. Poets 35 and younger were invited to be part of a celebration of our 35 years in the reading series business. The standard of entries was astonishing, and the resulting event was one of the highlights of our year. The event returned in 2010, but was opened up to published poets of all ages. 2010 also saw a new partnership with our friends at NOW Magazine, and that collaboration continues this year!

I’m pretty good, y’know. Will there be any sort of prize?

Oh yes. One reader will win an automatic invitation to appear at the 35th annual International Festival of Authors (October 23–November 2, 2014) AND an ad for their most recent book of poetry in NOW Magazine! Not bad, eh?!

Who is eligible for Poetry NOW?

You must be published by a trade publisher in a collection that is all your own work (so anthologies, literary journals and magazines aren’t eligible, sorry). Your book must have been published within the last five years, and it must be currently in print.

This one seems kind of obvious, but you must also be in Toronto on April 2 and available between 5pm and 10pm. (Sorry, we are unable to cover car/train/boat/plane or accommodation expenses.)

I was a part of last year’s event, can I still enter for the 2014 event?

Absolutely. We’d love to have you back. Besides, maybe you have a new book out since last year’s event…?

What sets Poetry NOW apart from your regular weekly literary events?

We’ll be featuring 20 readers in one event, instead of our usual two or three. And we won’t be making a judgment call about who gets an invite. If you fit the criteria and your name gets pulled out of the hat, you’re in!

Do I need to pre-register? Or can I just sign up on the night?

Although we’re throwing open the call for submissions, we will be confirming the line-up several weeks in advance and liaising with publishers to promote the event according to our usual procedures. Submissions must be made by your publisher by Monday, March 3 at noon.

(See our submission guidelines for publishers below.)

What’s the closing date for submissions?

Monday, March 3 at noon.

How many authors will get to read at the event? And for how long?

20 authors will read for up to five minutes each.

How will you choose the readers?

Submissions that fit the above criteria will go into a draw. You have as much chance of being selected as the next person.

Who picks the winner?

Judges to be announced shortly.

When will I find out if I’m in?

Publishers will be notified and details confirmed by March 7. We’ll announce the line-up March 10.

What if I have more than one publisher? Can they both submit my work?

By all means, but we will only put your name in the draw once. (Also, see below re: books being for sale on the night of the event.)

Will my books be for sale at the event?

Yes, but we will require each presenting poet or their publishing representative to bring the books on a consignment basis. Your publisher can arrange these details with us once we have the line-up confirmed.

I have lots of friends/family/groupies. How can they all come and support me?

Tickets are $10 (free to our supporters, students with valid ID and youth 25 & under) and can be purchased online soon. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget that we offer a 50% discount to all our events to members of the League of Canadian Poets (and also the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Playwrights Guild of Canada).

Will there be a bar?

You betcha!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR PUBLISHERS

Please submit eligible titles by email to info@ifoa.org by Monday, March 3 at noon.

You must include the following information:

  • Name of Author
  • Brief bio
  • Eligible title(s) and their year(s) of publications

Please write “Poetry NOW” in the subject line.

And please let us know if we already have the book under consideration for our regular weekly event series.

Once the 20 authors have been picked, we will contact the relevant publishers to confirm details.

At that point, you will be required to send:

  • 3 copies of the book(s) the author will be presenting
  • An author bio and brief synopsis of the book
  • An author photo and book cover image (both as high res. jpegs)

Five questions with… poet Sandra Ridley

Ottawa-based poet Sandra Ridley was the winner of Harbourfront Centre’s 2012 Poetry NOW competition. She’ll be at IFOA to share her latest poetry collection, Post-Apothecary.

IFOA: Why do you choose to write poetry over prose?

Ridley: Poetry is the most natural form for me. I’m not a story teller at heart.

For any genre, if the writing is done well, form and content are inseparable and mutually reinforcing. I’m curious about omissions and leaps of reasoning, and the more associative and fragmentary connections between fluidities—what makes for disorienting atmospheric elements or emotive motifs—and personally, poetry seems better suited to that stylistic bent.

IFOA: What’s your idea of a perfect day?

Ridley: The kind of atemporal day when I forget who I am and what my wants and needs are. Those days don’t happen very often, of course. But they happen more often when there is sunshine involved. And a warm lake. And sand dunes.

And a couple of cold bottles of Beau’s beer.

IFOA: You grew up on a farm. How has that influenced your writing?

Ridley: I’m not sure if it has influenced my writing at all, but perhaps it has influenced my writing process. I have a very high tolerance for long stretches of alone-time. Actually, I have a love for alone-time. (I had lots of it as a child – the closest town was a hamlet of twenty-six people.)

Removing myself from involvements—necessary engagements and typical distractions—helps me focus on work. I’ve been lucky these last few years to have had a handful of weeks away each summer. I’m relatively feral by the time I come back to the city.

IFOA: If you could time travel, where and when would you go, and why?

Ridley: May 21st, 1927.

27 Rue de Fleurus, Paris.

Late afternoon, leaving Toklas and Stein’s salon just in time to see “Lucky Lindy” Lindbergh cross overhead in his single-seat, single-engine monoplane – winning the Ortieg Prize, by being the first to fly non-stop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

I imagine that the Roaring Twenties would be a favoured time for a lot of writers. It was a period of movement and creation—booming prosperity. Flappers and cloche hats. Motion pictures, jazz, and the Golden Age of radio. Les Années Folles. I think for many, but maybe not all, it may have been a time when people could forget the human animal’s capacity for destruction.

I would’ve been dancing and I would have had no fear of dancing.

IFOA: Finish this sentence: I write best when I’m…

Ridley: Unconcerned with my expectations for a poem. Too often I let my inner-editor nay-say too early—so the words can’t accumulate. I wish I was a little more patient with the early stages of the writing process.

IFOA: Bonus question: This year’s International Festival of Authors in one word…

Ridley: Quaquaversal! (Bet you didn’t think I’d get that one…?!)

For more about Sandra Ridley’s appearance at IFOA, click here.