2020 Senior Online Qualifiers Judges

Bathélemy Bolivar


Born in Haiti, Bathélemy Bolivar emigrated to the United States in 2000 to study computer sciences while teaching physics. In 2002, he settled in Winnipeg, where he continued to teach. In 2011, his master’s studies in Education and Online Business gave him the opportunity, with the help of friends from Haiti and elsewhere, to launch the École haïtienne sans Frontières (Haitian School Without Borders), the mission of which is to provide free, high-quality education to Haitian students.

Bathélemy Bolivar has published many poetry books, including Manguiers têtus (which won the Rue-Deschambault Prize in 2006), Re-bondir, mots de terre/voices of the earth, which is bilingual, and Tempo.


Alice Burdick


Alice Burdick lives in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. She is the author of many chapbooks, pamphlets, folios and four full-length poetry collections. Deportment, a book of selected poetry, came out in 2018 from Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 

Alice's poetry has been described as playful, surreal and imagistic. She often writes about daily life as well as internal and external landscapes, and doesn't shy away from satire or the anti-sentimental lyric. Influences have included Emily Dickinson, Marina Tsvetayeva, Frank OHaraLorine NiedeckerTed Berrigan, and Anne Waldman.

Her work has also appeared in several anthologies including Surreal Estate: 13 Canadian Poets Under the Influence and Locations of Grief: An Emotional Geography and she has authored two cookbooks. She was co-founder of the independent bookstore Lexicon Books.


Jean-Paul Daoust


Quebec poet and essayist Jean-Paul Daoust, born in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, is a prolific writer. His biting poems call upon popular references, sometimes using English words in his French poetry, and reveal a direct, vibrant, and baroque writing style. His intimate, protesting, and engaged work explores themes of melancholy, modernity, and homosexuality. Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award and recipient of the Grand Prix Québecor of the Festival international de la poésie de Trois-Rivières, Jean-Paul Daoust reveals a poetic work with many twists and turns. The poet can be heard every day on Radio-Canada's Plus on est de fous plus on lit, where he is the guest poet.


Georgette LeBlanc


Georgette LeBlanc is a writer of free verse novels, poems, and songs. Her writing transcends perspective, time, and genre through the use of a literary Acadian language rising beyond folklore to reach a mythical universe. Her poetic voice is in turn playful and vibrant, enigmatic and intimate. Literary translation, memory, history, and performance are among her interests. Her published works include Alma (2007), Amédé (2010), Prudent (2013) (finalist for the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry), and Le Grand Feu (2016), published by Éditions Perce-Neige. Georgette LeBlanc was the Parliamentary Poet Laureate in 2018 and 2019.


Canisia Lubrin


Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, teacher and critic, with work published widely in North America, as well as in the U.K.. Translations of her work include into Spanish and Italian. She is the author of the awards-nominated poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn) and augur (Gap Riot Press) finalist for the 2018 bpNichol Chapbook Award. Lubrin's fiction is anthologized in The Unpublished City: Volume I, finalist for the 2018 Toronto Book Award. She teaches English at Humber College and Creative Writing at Sheridan College and in the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies.


Deanna Radford


Deanna Radford's poetry is compelled by the language of human communication. It looks at our relationship to the Internet & the material space it occupies in our lives. Experimental sound poetry, art, the environment, & intersectional social justice inspire & influence her practice.

In prose, Deanna has written about literature, sound art, & music for ArcBroken PencilHerizonsMusicworksMUTEKmag, & others. Her poetry has been published by Art + Wonder, The Capilano Reviewcarte blanche, Free City Radio's Art & Social Change, The Headlight AnthologyOcculto Magazine, & Vallum.

As a performance poet, Deanna appeared with Kaie Kellough & Margaret Christakos in Klara du Plessis' Deep Curation series in Fall 2019. Her poetry/sound band Cloud Circuit launched its début recording (Archive Officielle Publications) in Spring 2020.

Deanna is a frequent judge of Poetry In Voice recitations, former curator of the Atwater Poetry Project, & a recent graduate of Concordia University's MA in creative writing.




Adam Sol


Born in New York, Adam Sol has lived in Toronto for 20 years. He has published five books of poetry, including Broken Dawn Blessings, his most recent collection. His novel-in-verse Jeremiah, Ohio was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry and his collection Crowd of Sounds won the award in 2004. He also is the author of How a Poem Moves: A Field Guide to Readers of Poetry, a series of essays that was published in book form by ECW in 2019. The blog continues at: https://howapoemmoves.wordpress.com. He teaches at the University of Toronto's Victoria College, where he's the Coordinator of the Creative Expression & Society program.

His poetic interests circle around the complications of being a person, how we are at once serious human beings with spiritual yearnings and socio-political frustrations, and also people who like to play stupid video games and eat beaver tails. How can poems reconcile these conflicting selves? He went to school for a long time and earned a bunch of degrees, but gets equal inspiration from the goofy as the esoteric, from Herman Melville to Bert & Ernie, from Talmudic stories to the Toronto Raptors.


Neil Surkan


Neil Surkan was born in Penticton, BC. He is the author of the poetry collections Unbecoming (forthcoming Fall 2021) and On High (2018), both from McGill-Queen’s University Press, and the chapbooks Their Queer Tenderness (Knife-Fork-Book, 2020) and Super, Natural (Anstruther Press, 2017). His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous Canadian literary magazines.

Neil earned a PhD in English from the University of Calgary in 2021 after completing an MA-CRW at the University of Toronto and a BA (Hons) at the University of Victoria. He currently lives and teaches in Nanaimo on the traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples - the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation - with Luca, Edi, and Lloyd.

Neil loves poems that make the world feel unfamiliar and, therefore, more precious — poems that merge vibrant descriptions, startling observations and intimations, and bewildering approaches to form. Poets who're influencing him right now include Ange Mlinko, Mark Ford, Sarah Howe, Michael Hofmann, Durs Grunbein, Tess Liem, A.E. Stallings, Tomas Tranströmer, Eduardo C. Corral, Natalie Diaz, Bill Knott, Natalie Shapero, Wendy Xu, Lisa Robertson, and Elizabeth Bishop.

Website: neilsurkan.com


Changming Yuan


Changming Yuan started to learn the English alphabet in Shanghai at age 19, published monographs on translation, and worked as a college lecturer and administrator before leaving China. An independent tutor and translator with a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver while writing all kinds of poetry, especially sociopolitical, languacultural, nature, reflective, dark and experimental. Credits include eight chapbooks, ten Pushcart nominations, the 2018 Naji Naaman's Literary Prize, the 2019 Jodi Strutz Award in Poetry, and publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry: Tenth Anniversary Edition and BestNewPoemsOnline, among more than 1,700 other journals/anthologies across 46 countries.

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