The Power Plant

POWER OF THE POETS 2 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest

Thu Apr 01 – Thu Apr 29 2021

5:00 AM – 8:00 PM



Manuel Mathieu, Resilience - a Landscape of Desire, 2020. Fabric, ink, and dust on canvas, 80 x 110 in. Courtesy the artist. Installation view: World Discovered Under Other Skies, The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

The Power Plant and the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) are excited to co-present POWER OF THE POETS 2, an ekphrastic poetry contest!

Ekphrastic poetry is poetry written about a work of art, often striving to connect what we see with feelings, memories and other insights. Well-known examples include Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by William Carlos Williams.

In celebration of April as National Poetry Month, we invite YOU to write your own ekphrastic poem, inspired by one of The Power Plant’s Fall 2020 exhibitions:

·Howie Tsui: From swelling shadows, we draw our bows

·Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies

·Nathan Eugene Carson: Cut from the same cloth

To view the exhibitions online, including links to audio of the wall texts and Slow Looking tour stops, please click HERE

Submissions are due via this form by 11:59 PM on Friday, 30 April 2021 and will be pre-judged by Roland Gulliver, Director of TIFA, then judged by Elder Duke Redbird. Winners and Honourable Mentions will receive prize packs from TIFA and The Power Plant!

Please read the guidelines below before submitting your poem. If you have any questions not answered below, email


Roland Gulliver is the Director of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and a leading international figure in the literature sector with over 12 years’ experience at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as Associate Director. His programming explores the potential of live performance, alongside commissions for new multimedia storytelling. Gulliver champions communities by facilitating access and empowerment, and creating spaces for authors and audiences to engage in discussion. He is on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Arts Council and Chair of their Literary Advisory Committee, and is a Member of the Academy for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Elder Duke Redbird (Ojibway, born in Saugeen First Nation, ON, Canada; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada is an established Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker and keynote speaker. He is best known in Canada and internationally as a key figure in the development of First Nations literature in Canada. Redbird’s legacy stretches far beyond his work in Canada, as his poetry has been published and translated in anthologies around the world. In 1985, he represented Canada at the Valmiki World Poetry Festival in India, reading the opening address. And Redbird's published book of poetry Loveshine and Red Wine was the inspiration for a multimedia musical production of his poetic work, at a command performance before Queen Elizabeth II. In 2020, his latest collection, Poetry, was published, and his poem "The Power of the Land" was featured on Sultans of String’s new album Refuge.



·The Contest is open to anyone in Canada.

·Staff and Board Members of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto International Festival of Authors, or Harbourfront Centre are not allowed to submit to this Contest.


·All submissions are due by 11:59 PM on Friday, 30 April 2021.


·All poems must respond to one of The Power Plant's Fall 2020 exhibitions. (See page 1.)

·All poems submitted must be original work.

·All forms of poetry are accepted.

·A maximum of 40 lines or 300 words per poem.

·Language must be appropriate for general audiences.

·The manuscript should include from top to bottom:

(1) Artist and exhibition title which inspired the poem;

(2) Title of Poem;

(3) Text of Poem; and,

(4) Name of Poet.

·All manuscripts must be in MS Word for PC (not Apple/Mac), Rich Text, Plain Text or PDF formats. Manuscripts in other (possibly unreadable) formats will not be considered.

·Complete the online form HERE, being careful to include all contact information: name, email address, telephone number, and street address of poet. All communication about the Contest will be sent to the submitted email address (with telephone number as a back-up).

·Submission requires a Google account.

·Each participant may submit only ONE poem for consideration. Should a participant submit more than one poem, only the first submission received (based on time-stamp) will be considered.


·The Contest will adhere to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to:

1) Conduct our Contest as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;

2) To provide clear and specific Contest guidelines that define conflicts of interest for any parties involved; and,

3) To make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.

This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically.

·The Power Plant will secure one or more independent judge(s) who will review and rank each submission based on originality, form, language, grammatical skill and the creative interpretation or reflection of writing.

·Should there be an adequate number of good quality submissions about each of The Power Plant's three Fall 2020 exhibitions, the Judge:

·Will select one "Winner" corresponding to each of the three exhibitions; and,

·May select one "Honorable Mention" corresponding to each of the three exhibitions.

·Should the Pre-Judge determine there are too few (less than three) submissions about a specific exhibition or that the submissions about a specific exhibition are of poor quality, the Pre-Judge may decide not to forward submissions to the Judge, in which case a Winner and/or Honourable Mention may not be selected corresponding to that specific exhibition. When submissions are forwarded to the Judge, the Judge may determine there are too few submissions about a specific exhibition and/or that the submissions about a specific exhibition are of poor quality, in which case a Winner and/or Honourable Mention may not be selected corresponding to that specific exhibition.

·Entries will be read and judged blind, so that no personal information is visible.

·If the pre-judge or judge can identify the poet based on style, they must excuse themself from voting on that poem.



· 1-year Family/Dual Level Membership at The Power Plant

· Five (5) Power Plant Pages publications

· One (1) TPP tote bag and one (1) TIFA tote bag

· Curator-led tour of The Power Plant’s exhibitions (depends upon COVID-19)

· A selection of four (4) books from TIFA’s “best hits”

· Two (2) double passes to attend two events of your choice during the 42nd edition of TIFA (taking place Oct/Nov 2021)

· Approximate Value: $500

Honorable Mentions:

· 1-year Individual Level at The Power Plant

· One (1) Power Plant Pages publication

· One (1) TIFA tote bag

· A selection of two (2) books from TIFA’s “best hits”

· One (1) double pass to attend the event of your choice during the 42nd edition of TIFA (taking place Oct/Nov 2021)

· Approximate Value: $200

· Winner and/or Honourable Mention poems, accompanied by the poet's name, may be featured on The Power Plant and TIFA’s web sites, social media channels, SoundCloud channel, etc.

· There is no cash equivalent available for the Prizes. If a Prize cannot be awarded as described in these rules, TPP and/or TIFA reserve the right to substitute all or part of a Prize component with another of comparable value, as determined by TPP's and/or TIFA’s sole discretion.

· Awards are set, but Winners and Honourable Mentions who are not close geographically to The Power Plant and TIFA may transfer their award—in whole or in part—to residents closer geographically to The Power Plant and TIFA.

· Winners and Honourable Mentions should check on reporting requirements with a tax professional.


· TPP and TIFA reserve the right to cancel, suspend, withdraw, or amend this Contest in any way.

· Any decision made by TPP and TIFA with respect to any component of the Contest shall be final and binding on all participants of the Contest, without any right of appeal.

· Any personal information gathered from poets who submit poems to the Contest will be kept in a secure and confidential database and will not be rented or sold. Personal information of the Contest entrants will be used for the administration of this Contest and will be added to TPP's and TIFA's email lists (from which they may unsubscribe).

· All poems submitted to the Contest remain the property of the poet; however, by submitting a poem, each poet acknowledges that their poem and name may be posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, various other internet-based sites and/or TPP and TIFA’s proprietary websites in perpetuity without any limitation, where it may be viewed, shared (by users of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and various other internet-based sites) and commented on by the general public.

· By entering this Contest, each poet agrees that TPP and TIFA will not be liable for any injury or
damage from whatever cause associated with or in connection with this Contest.


Inspired by Nathan Eugene Carson: Cut from the same cloth
Winner | LAID BARE by Darian Razdar
Honourable Mention | Same Cut, Same Cloth by Vanilla Being (Victoria Atteh)

Inspired by Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies
Winner | Hung Up by Peter Gillies
Honourable Mention | Seen by Anna Jane McIntyre
Honourable Mention | Wake by Kim Mcghee

Inspired by Howie Tsui: From swelling shadows, we draw out bows
Winner | a whirring sound pinged off the walls by Javier Fuentes
Honourable Mention | ACTS OF SURRENDER by Shanan Kurtz

View the Winners and Finalists' poems here.