Announcing the 9 Junior Champions and 24 Senior Semifinalists

For immediate release — 12 pm EDT, March 9, 2023

MONTREAL, QC — Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie announces 9 Champions in its 2023 Junior Online Finals and 24 Semifinalists in its 2023 Senior Online Qualifiers.

This year, high school students from across the country participated in classroom and school contests by learning poems by heart from the Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie online anthology. Students in grades 6–8 entered the Junior Online Finals, while students in grades 9–12 entered the Senior Online Qualifiers, in one of the contest’s three streams: English, French or Bilingual. Each school's champion submitted two recitation videos for consideration. The videos were judged and the winners were selected by two panels of Canadian poets, one for the Junior Online Finals and the other for the Senior Online Qualifiers. The selected reciters were chosen from close to 20 000 students from across the country. 

$25 000 in Prizes

Each Junior Champion earned between $100 and $300, while each Semifinalist has earned $250. The recipient of the People’s Choice Award will receive an extra $500. During the National Finals, a total of nearly $25 000 will be awarded to the winners.

Until March 21, the public is invited to watch the 24 Semifinalists’ recitations on the Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie website and to vote for their favourite in the People’s Choice Award. Poetry lovers and neophytes alike: everyone will find poems and interpretations to their taste!

The judges will have the difficult task of choosing the nine reciters who will participate in the National Finals, to be announced on Thursday, March 23. For the first time in three years, the National Finals will be held live on April 20th, at the Calgary Central Public Library, and streamed on multiple platforms. 


This year, FutureVerse will be held alongside National Finals in Calgary. An all-expenses-paid poetry intensive, FutureVerse brings together young writers from all over the country for four days of workshops, panels, readings and activities with well known authors, publishers, and activists. To apply, students submitted an original poem to VOICES/VOIX, our student poetry journal, or to the Poetry Prompt Prize, our monthly poetry contest. The 16 students selected for FutureVerse will be announced on March 23. 

Here are the 2023 Junior Champions:


English Stream:

  • The first prize of $300 for the best combined score of two recitations in English goes to Taran Ly from Ottewell School in Edmonton, AB.
  • The second prize of $200 goes to Karishma Suresh Kumar from Morning Star Middle School in Mississauga, ON. 
  • The third prize of $100 goes to Soleila Starr from University of Toronto Schools in Toronto, ON. 

Bilingual Stream:

  • The first prize of $300 for the best combined score of one recitation in English and one recitation in French goes to Eden Simhon from École Maïmonide Campus Jacob Safra in St-Laurent, QC.
  • The second prize of $200 goes to Louise Harvey from École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville in Port Coquitlam, BC.
  • The third prize of $100 goes to Terris Wang from Ashbury College in Ottawa, ON. 

French Stream:

  • The first prize of $300 for the best combined score of two recitations in French goes to Anaëlle Herve from Collège International Marie de France in Montréal, QC. 
  • The second prize of $200 goes to Eugénie Trutnev from Villa Ste-Marcelline in Westmount, QC.
  • The third prize of $100 goes to Soleil Bitting from École des Sept-Sommets in Rossland, BC. 


And here are the 2023 Senior Semifinalists:


English Stream:

  • Jaiden Ahuja from Mulgrave School, West Vancouver, BC
  • Olivia Bridgman from Lycée Francais de Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • Maia Cassie from Queen Margaret's School, Duncan, BC
  • Grace Cormier from Harbour View High School, Saint John, NB
  • Andrea De Castro from Philip Pocock School, Mississauga, ON
  • Maria Espindola from Bishop Carroll High School, Calgary, AB
  • Sophie Fan from École Internationale de Montréal, Montréal, QC
  • Zeinab Kesserwan from Edmonton Islamic Academy, Edmonton, AB
  • Sariya Kumar from St. Joseph's Catholic High School, Windsor, ON
  • Lola Okunjemiruwa from Webber Academy, Calgary, AB
  • Shanice Raymond from Elmwood High School, Winnipeg, MB
  • Angelina Yeung from Crofton House School, Vancouver, BC

Bilingual Stream:

  • Charlotte Deleskie from University Of Toronto Schools, Toronto, ON
  • Rohan Mariash from Miles Macdonell Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB
  • Philippe Morissette from Lycée Francais De Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • Aarounsaul Negre from All Saints High School, Calgary, AB
  • Maité Turgeon from Collège Sainte-Anne Secondaire Dorval, Dorval, QC
  • Marie Uwimana from École Secondaire Mont Bleu, Gatineau, QC

French Stream:

  • Hope Anaky from École Alexandre-Taché, St. Albert, AB
  • Arsène Guillemot from Collège Français Secondaire Longueuil, Longueuil, QC
  • Elizabeth Pan from Collège Jean-De-Brébeuf, Montréal, QC
  • Nedelev Philip from Toronto French School, Toronto, ON
  • Chloé Simard from Champlain Regional College - Saint-Lambert, Saint-Lambert, QC
  • Romane Vigneault from Cégep du Vieux Montréal, Montréal, QC


The judges

9 Semifinalists will be selected to advance to National Finals in Calgary. The poets who will judge the recitations in English are:

  • Elizabeth Bachinsky (New Westminster, BC),
  • David Bradford (Montreal, QC),
  • Ariel Gordon (Winnipeg, MB),
  • James Langer (St. John's, NL),
  • YS Lee (Kingston, ON),
  • Neil Surkan (Nanaimo, BC)
  • Jacob Scheier (Toronto, ON).

And the poets who will judge the recitations in French are:

  • Véronique Cyr (Montreal, QC),
  • Carole David (Montreal, QC),
  • Chloé Laduchesse (Sudbury, ON).


“Each one of these students has gained a deeper understanding of how poems are crafted, which has made them better readers and writers of poetry.”

David Smith, director of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie

About Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie –

Founded by Scott Griffin, chairman and founder of the illustrious Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry, Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie encourages all Canadians to speak the language of poetry. They are the essential resource for teaching and learning poetry in Canada — and beyond. The organization started by hosting a recitation contest with 12 schools in Ontario in 2010, and has since become “a cultural force in Canada,” according to Margaret Atwood. 

Every year, the organization hosts two national recitation contests (one for students in Grades 9–12, and another for students in Grades 6–8) and a dozen local team recitation contests every year. These contests rely on robust online anthologies of classic and contemporary poems in English and French. The organization also publishes an annual bilingual journal of student poetry, VOICES/VOIX, with issue #5 to be released next September. 

Their websites also include comprehensive teaching materials, and to date Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie has sent poets into over 1300 classrooms to work with over 40,000 students through their Poet In Class/Poètes à l’école program. 


For all media enquiries, including interviews with the Junior Champions, the Semifinalists, or with Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie, contact Communications Director, Liana Cusmano, e:, c: 514.668.0768 Rorie Bruce, e:, c: 204-781-1769





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