Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Purdy contest

Owen Percy at the U of Calgary asked me to pass this along, for anyone who's interested. I might enter myself, but for the fact that I already wrote and published such a poem...


Following Al Purdy’s death in 2001, The Al Purdy A-Frame Trust was formed
in order to save the poet’s home in Ameliasburgh, Ontario from the
wrecking ball by transforming it into a writer-in-residence retreat. This
retreat will offer Canadian authors and critics a secluded, historical
setting in which to develop the manuscripts that will shape the next
generation of Canadian literature. Towards this end, the After Al Purdy
Poetry Contest offers poets the chance to engage textually with the legacy
of one of Canada’s most important poets, while also contributing to the
fundraising initiative to save the A-frame.

The Contest: We are seeking poems that engage in some direct way with Al
Purdy’s poetry, poetics, and/or poetic legacy. There is no limit on the
length or number of poems submitted as long as the appropriate entry fees
are included. The judges will select the top three poems in each category
(see Categories, below). Event, The New Quarterly, and The Antigonish
Review will each publish two of the winning poems in 2010. The winners
will also receive a selection of titles from Harbour Publishing (including
Paul Vermeersch's forthcoming The Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology) and Freehand

Categories: Entries will be judged under one of two categories: emerging
poet or established poet. An established poet is someone who has published
a book of poetry (longer than a chapbook), or has one forthcoming with a
confirmed publisher.

Contest Fee/Donation: Entry fee is $10/poem, with all monies thus
collected going directly to The Al Purdy A-Frame Trust. Further donations
to this initiative are welcomed and encouraged. Tax receipts will be
issued, upon request, for any submission fee/donation of $50 or more.
Cheques and money orders must be made out to The Al Purdy A-Frame Trust.

How To Enter: Send a cover letter identifying under which category your
poem(s) is/are to be judged, along with one hard copy of each poem, and
the appropriate entry fee ($10/poem) to:

After Al Purdy Poetry Contest, Department of English, University of
Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, AB. T2N 1N4

Please include your contact information, including your name and email
address at the top right-hand corner of each submitted poem. Email
submissions will not be accepted. Please keep a copy of poem(s) submitted;
entries will not be returned.

Contest Closing Date: Entries must be post-marked by Friday, November 13,
2009. Winners will be announced by January 1, 2010, and will have their
winning poems published in 2010. Entries will be judged by University of
Calgary English Department graduate students and faculty:
Suzette Mayr, Owen Percy, Robyn Read, and Tom Wayman.

Sponsored by the English Department at the University of Calgary, Freehand
Books, Harbour Publishing, The Antigonish Review, Event, and The New

Visit After Al Purdy Contest on the web at
More information on The Al Purdy A-Frame Trust can be found at


Rob Taylor said...

Purdy poems are becoming their own little industry, it seems.

Zachariah Wells said...

Indeed, Rob. A cottage industry, that is...

Paul Vermeersch said...

I find poems of tribute nigh-impossible to write. But it's for a good cause. Thanks for spreading the word, Zach.

Owen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Owen said...

Thanks for posting this, Zach. (And for the 'cottage industry' witticism). Glad to see that it's at least generating a bit of a buzz. I hope that it's clear in the call for entries that the poems don't need to be 'tribute' poems in the elegiac or celebratory sense-- they just have to engage in someway with Purdy's poetics or legacy. They can even be critical (I'm talking to you, David Solway--send us something!)

Chris Banks said...

David Solway? Really Owen? I thought criticism of Al was already a little cottage industry all on its own for the last nine years -- attacking Al Purdy has become a kind of blogger shorthand for younger Canadian poets still wet behind the ears who want to appear serious and provocative to the big conservative kids in the Canadian Poetry sandbox -- so why include more of such profile-building twaddle now as part of what appears to be a tribute?

Owen said...

Chris, I don't think we're necessarily looking to include 'twaddle' in a contest that is meant to highlight Purdy's profile, not denigrate it. The point is that we're welcoming all comers. All comers willing to part with the entry fee/donation to the Trust that is...

Zachariah Wells said...

Which would not include Solway. Even if he did read this blog. Which I'm sure he'd never admit to.

Rob Taylor said...

Yeah, I really blew my opportunity on that joke, eh?

But at least I teed it up nicely for you...

Zachariah Wells said...

You keep pitchin' 'em, I'll keep knockin' 'em out, buddy.

Chris Banks said...

....and making my point all the stronger.