Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest

$1000 for one glorious poem

Deadline: February 28, 2020

Sponsored by former The New Quarterly editor Kim Jernigan and family in celebration of her father, Nick Blatchford, of the man who sparked the family’s love of poetry. This contest is for poems written in response to an existing occasion, personal or public, or poems that make an occasion of something ordinary or by virtue of the poet's attention. We are interested in light verse and in verse more sober, in the whole spectrum of tones and occasions. One of Nick's own poems, which we think captures the broadness of his (and our) sense of occasion, is pictured below. It originally appeared in Issue 100 of The New Quarterly.

Entry & Eligibility Details

  • A $1000 top prize will be awarded for one work of occasional verse (no word limit).
  • An additional $1000 will be distributed as the judges fancy.
  • We publish a selection of poems from one longlist alongside the winners, some of which have been selected for other honours, e.g. publication in Best Canadian Poetry in English .
  • Entry fee: $40 for up to 3 poems (includes a 1-year Canadian subscription or renewal to The New Quarterly). Additional poems are $5 each.
  • Submissions must be unpublished, nor can they have been accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Submissions are accepted online only.
  • Entries may be accompanied by a few lines describing the event that occasioned the poem, or the poem can be left to speak for itself.
  • Entrants must be Canadian (citizen or resident).
  • Entrant’s name must not appear on the submission document.
  • All entries will be considered for publication in The New Quarterly ($ 50/poem paid upon publication).
  • Entrants' anonymity will be preserved throughout the judging process.
  • Decisions will be posted by late August 31st. Finalists will be notified ahead by email.

We also accept payment by cheque or credit card over the phone. Contact us at 519-884-8111 ext. 28290 or at info[at] for more information.

Interviews with Past Contest Winners:

2019: Terence Young for "Tender is the Night"
2018: Catherine Malvern for December's Child
2017: Fiona Tinwei Lam for "Test"
2016: Ruth Daniell for "Wedding Anniversary"
2015: Cori Martin for "Quilters"
2013: Suzanne Nussey for "Poem for the First Sunday of Advent"
2012: Anne Marie Todkill for "Non sequitur"
2011: Kerry-Lee Powell for "The Lifeboat"


Please Note:

For serious budgetary and tax reasons, if you
already have a subscription to The New Quarterly for the coming year, we ask that you kindly consider gifting the subscription included with your entry to a friend.
By selecting "Gift My Subscription!" in the form below, you will make our accountants breathe a sigh of relief and introduce someone you know to The New Quarterly!

Submit your entry below!