The Vancouver Poet Laureate’s City Poems Contest is a two-stage project that aims to stimulate public engagement and interest in poetry about historical, cultural and ecological sites within the area that we now know as Vancouver and the UBC Endowment Lands.

The First Stage was a poetry contest held in January-June 2022. The Second Stage of the contest for 2023 seeks to encourage collaboration and the creation of well-crafted poetry videos based on notable site-based poems in Stage One to foster poetry, literacy, and an understanding and appreciation of local history and culture.

Post-secondary students from pre-selected local public post-secondary courses in film, animation, media studies or digital studies will be asked to make poetry videos based on a curated list of eligible poems drawn from the shortlisted emerging and established category poems from Stage One of the Poet Laureate's City Poems Contest, supplemented by a few additional poems selected by the poet laureate to ensure diverse representation. Stage One shortlisted poets in the adult and emerging categories may also collaborate with local public post-secondary students of their choice.

Submissions will open in December/January, close in mid April, with voting on an Audience Choice Award online and judging in late April/earlyMay and an Awards Ceremony and Screening for winners on June 11, 2023 at the Museum of Vancouver. There may be additional public screenings at various community venues in future.

Please see more information and background about the contest here:


Poetry videos will be judged according to the following:
- how they allow a poem to be experienced through visual imagery, colour, pattern, sound effects, music, text, narration and/or the use of original and inventive techniques,
-how effectively they engage viewers/listeners, AND
-how they artistically deepen, extend and transform the meaning of the poems through the synergy of sound, text, and/or image.

First Prize $1000
Second Prize $500
Third Prize $300

There will also be an Audience Choice Prize (through online voting).

Only winning and shortlisted poetry videos will be included in a public screening on June 11, 2023 at the Museum of Vancouver. Poetry videos will be posted on the Vancouver Public Library YouTube Playlist and possibly on the Museum of Vancouver YouTube Playlist. Poetry videos may be screened at other public events such as the Word Festival 2023 and at public venues such as the Museum of Vancouver or VPL.

1. Poetry videos must be made by either post-secondary students in pre-selected film/digital arts/media arts courses at public post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland OR by local public post-secondary students working in collaboration with City Poems Contest Finalists who were announced in June 2022.

2. Duration of videos must be 5 minutes or less including credits.

3. The poetry videos MUST be based on the eligible list of poems (2022 or 2023) drawn from Stage One of the Poet Laureate's City Poems Contest and augmented by additional poems chosen by the poet laureate to ensure diverse representation. Poetry videos based on poems other than those on the eligible list will be disqualified. Eligible list for 2023:

4. Students must have the consent of the poets. The chosen poem may be excerpted with the consent of the poet.

5. Poetry videos must be appropriate for family and general public viewing. The contest has a zero-tolerance policy for the following: racism, antisemitism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and any/every other form of bigotry.

6. All videos submitted must include the author and title of the poem in the credits )(unless poets indicate that they do not wish their name or poem title included).

7. If possible, please include closed captioning for those with hearing impairments. The incorporation of text in your poetry video is welcome. (Caption/subtitle file either burned in (preferable) or as .srt or .vtt)

8. Please upload your full video file as an MP4 for your submission (rather than just providing a link). Important: Please adjust your project's privacy settings to permit downloads by our organizers so that it can be uploaded to the Vancouver Public Library's YouTube Playlist for the Audience Choice voting in April-May, and for future public viewing.

9. By submitting to this festival, you certify that:

• You are the owner of the video/film you have submitted. You have full authority to submit the film to the festival. You have obtained permission to use any material in your video that may be subject to copyright by others.

• This poetry video is an original work and you confirm that the Vancouver Poet Laureate, and the affiliated organizations including the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library, the Vancouver Writers Festival, and the Museum of Vancouver are not liable for any claims related to the content of your poetry video.

Only wInning poetry videos will be screened on June 11th at a public screening and award ceremony at the Museum of Vancouver. A selection of the top poetry videos may be included in a public screening at the Word Festival 2023 in September at UBC Robson Square. All poetry videos that are submitted for the contest may be posted online through the VPL's YouTube Playlist.

We ask that you keep your poetry video private until after June 11th.