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2021 Poetry Contest Opens & Judges Announced!


The Fiddlehead's 2021 Ralph Gustafson Poetry Contest is now open for submissions and we're excited to announce that Selina Boan, Matthew Gwathmey and Susan Musgrave are the talented poets who will be judging this year's entries! 


Selina Boan is a white settler-nehiyaw writer living on the traditional, unceded territories of thexʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples.

Her debut poetry collection, Undoing Hours, was released this Spring with Nightwood Editions. Her work has been published widely, including The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 and 2020. She has received several honours, including the 2017 National Magazine Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the 2020 CBC poetry award. She is currently a poetry editor for Rahila’s Ghost Press and is a member of The Growing Room Collective.

Matthew Gwathmey lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on Wolastoqey Territory. He studied creative writing at the University of Virginia and is currently working on his PhD at UNB. His first poetry collection, Our Latest in Folktales, was published by Brick Books in the spring of 2019.

Susan Musgrave has published more than 30 books. She has been nominated and won awards for writing in five different categories: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and for her work as an editor. A new book of poetry, Exculpatory Lilies, will be published by McClelland & Stewart in 2022.

She lives on Haida Gwaii, off Canada’s northwest coast, where she owns and manages Copper Beech Guest House, and teaches poetry in UBC’s Optional Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. She spends part of every year in the west of Ireland.

Check out the contest submission guidelines for more information!

Good luck to all entrants. This year's contest deadline is Wednesday, December 1, 2021 (postmarked for mailed entries and 11:59 pm Atlantic Standard Time for Submittable entries).




Greetings people at The Fiddlehead. One of the poems I am considering submitting to the Poetry Contest has not appeared anywhere in print, but I did read it for an international PEN reading recently. Could you tell me if the public oral version disqualifies for submission? Thanks so much for your attention to this, Rae Marie Taylor

Hi Rae, Thank you for your interest in the poetry contest! As long as there is no freely accessible recording of the reading, then the poem would not be considered published and would qualify for submission to the contest. All the best, Kelsey

On one page you state that the maximum number of poems for an initial entry is 3, but on the submit form it states 6? Please clarify.

Hi Eric, Thank you for your interest in The Fiddlehead poetry contest! To clarify, the maximum number of poems for a submission to the poetry contest is three. The maximum number for a non-contest entry to our general submissions is six.

uh oh, I just submitted my three poems for your contest and expected to have an online payment method as part of the Submittable function. None appeared. How do I pay the $35.00 fee, please? will I be disqualified now? Eric

Hi Eric, It looks like you clicked the form for regular submissions, rather than the one for the poetry contest. The correct form can be found here: I will withdraw your previous submission that was submitted to the wrong form. If you would like further assistance, please email All the best, Kelsey

Thank you very much for sorting that. I have resubmitted to the contest with payment and I believe was successful. Sorry for the bother. Eric

Hi Eric, That's no trouble at all. Thank you for submitting to the contest!

Is this open for poems geared to children?

Hi Kerry, Thanks for your question! While there is no theme for the contest, poems geared to adults would stand a better chance.

So you may submit 3 poems together in the first mailing for a total cost 35 dollars ? Do I have that right?!?

Yes, you do have that correct!

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