Contest Winner Profile: Doyali Islam

The lovely Doyali Islam, 2015 winner of the Foster Poetry Prize, is here to encourage you to submit to this year’s contest! Read on to learn more about Doyali and to enjoy her gentle nudge towards submitting, then visit this link to submit your own work to the contest by 11:59pm CST tonight, November 8th.

Doyali Islam is a 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize finalist, Trillium Book Award for Poetry finalist, & Pat Lowther Memorial Award finalist for heft (M&S, 2019). Doyali was interviewed by Anne Michaels in the Spring 2019 issue of CV2, and a review of heft can be found in the Fall 2021 issue of CV2.

Encouragement if You’re Hesitant to Submit:
“If you don’t enter, you can’t win. Commit to your craft, go with your gut, & submit!”

We agree! Many thanks to Doyali for sharing these words and so much stunning work with us throughout the years.

This year’s contest closes at midnight CST. Up for grabs is $1000 in prizes and publication in CV2. Send us your work today!

Contest Winner Profile: Jake Byrne

Meet Jake Byrne, winner of the 2019 Foster Poetry Prize! Jake writes beautiful poetry and funny tweets (@jakebyrnewrites) and will also be featured in our upcoming Daddy Issue! Read on to learn more about Jake and his experience winning the contest.

“I give a bit of a reflection on the process of writing the poem in CV2‘s Daddy Issue. My experience winning it was pretty funny. I’d had no word from the contest in a few months — at least three or four, which is typical for contests. Then CV2 emailed me to let me know I’d won and, was it alright if they published the news in an hour? No longlist, no shortlist, just the nicest surprise I’ve ever found in my inbox. I felt so giddy I had to abandon my set at the gym.”

Jake Byrne is a writer who lives in Tkaronto, on lands governed by the Dish with One Spoon Covenant that belong to the Anishnaabek, the Huron-Wendat, the Mississaugas of the Credit River and the Haudenosaunee nations. Jake won the Foster Poetry Prize for 2019. Find an updated list of Jake’s published work at

Many thanks, Jake! We’ll forgive you for the light shade about our response time on your win if you’ll forgive us for the wait.

Be like Jake! Submit to the Foster Poetry Prize, and who knows — we may find a way to get you out of a workout.

*Photo credit: Jessica Laforet.

Reader Lineup: Fall Issue Launch

We’re thrilled to announce the stellar lineup of contributors who will be reading at next Thursday’s Zoom launch for the Fall 2021 Issue of CV2!

Head here to register for this free event and you’ll receive email reminders about the launch straight to your inbox, and share the event with your communities if you’re as excited as we are for the readings by Zehra Naqvi, Conyer Clayton, Frances Boyle, Vivian Li, Khashayar Mohammadi, Jaime Black, Kyla Jamieson, and Julie Mannell!

The event is free and open to all, but registration in advance is required. The launch will have closed captioning enabled.


Contest Winner Profile: Joseph Kidney

Continuing on with our profiles of past winners of the Foster Poetry Prize, this week we have 2018 winner Joseph Kidney! Read on to learn more about Joseph, what his experience winning the contest taught him about garbage poems, and head to this link to submit your own work by November 1st!

“Winning this award from CV2 for the poem “Garbage Takeout” reassured me that just because the poem was about garbage didn’t mean that the poem was garbage. I still remember quite distinctly the three locations in which I discovered that the poem had been longlisted, then shortlisted, then chosen, and the three increasingly unusual surges of elation, not without the sense of having gotten away with something. Winning gave me both a renewed confidence in writing, as well as the ability to pay off some credit card debt. I’m still very grateful to Mallory Tater and CV2 for this honour.”

Joseph Kidney has published poems in Vallum, Oberon, The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, and PRISM international. He was shortlisted for the Bedford International Poetry Award, won the Short Grain Contest from Grain, and won The Young Buck Poetry Prize (now the Foster Poetry Prize) from CV2 for the best poem submitted by an author under 35. He was raised in New Westminster, BC, attended undergraduate and graduate school in Montreal, and is in the process of completing a PhD in early modern drama at Stanford University.

Find him on Instagram as @zacnephron or on Twitter at @josephkidney2.

Many thanks to Joseph for reminding us that poems about garbage might not BE garbage — they might be contest winners!

Submit your own garbage poem today! $1000 and publication in CV2 could be yours.

Fall Issue Launch

Save the date! We’ll be launching our Fall 2021 Issue on Thursday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. CST over Zoom. Stay tuned for the exciting lineup of readers.

This event is free and open to all, but registration is required to attend. Visit this link to register!

Contest Winner Profile: Ellie Sawatzky

In anticipation of the upcoming deadline for the Foster Poetry Prize, we’ll be sharing the profiles of past winners each week from now until the contest closes on November 1st. First up is 2017 winner Ellie Sawatzky! Read on to hear about her experience winning the contest and what she’s been up to since.

“Right after I found out I had won the Young Buck Poetry Prize, back in January of 2018, I went and treated myself to my first ever French manicure and had a very hard time sitting still. Poetry can be a lonely pursuit, but that was a sparkly moment of feeling seen and feeling connected.

My winning poem, “Crystals”, comes from a suite of poems I wrote about being a nanny, featured in my debut collection, None of This Belongs to Me. In nature, crystals form when the molecules in cooling liquid gather together in repeating patterns, attempting to become stable. This made me think about childhood development, what “sets in”, what begins to take shape. The poem compares and contrasts mother-daughter relationships and ponders the nature of child-caregiver attachments. What trickles down through the line, what do we give and take from each other? “Crystals” ends with the image of a little girl at a festival holding an abandoned rabbit kit, and a larger social question is asked about human impact on the earth.”

Ellie Sawatzky grew up in the woods of Kenora, Ontario. A 2019 Bronwen Wallace Award finalist, her work has been published widely in literary journals and anthologies such as GrainThe FiddleheadPRISM internationalBest Canadian PoetryThe Matador Review, The Puritan, and Room.

She was the recipient of CV2‘s 2017 Foster Poetry Prize (formerly known as the Young Buck Poetry Prize) for “Crystals”, a poem about the strange/lovely/terrible experience of working as a nanny. Her debut poetry collection, None of This Belongs to Me—which includes her prize-winning poem—is being released on October 31st, 2021 and is currently available for pre-order (Nightwood Editions)!

She works as an editor for FriesenPress, and she is the curator of the Instagram account IMPROMPTU (@impromptuprompts), a hub for writing prompts and literary inspiration. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and lives in Vancouver with her partner and a cat named Camus.

Find Ellie at, or on Instagram as @elliesawatzky or @impromptuprompts. Find out more about her soon-to-be-released book here.

2021 2-Day Poem Contest Winners

The results are in and we’re so thrilled to share the winners of CV2’s 2021 2-Day Poem Contest!

Our judge this year was Halle Gulbrandsen (who won first place in the 2020 contest) and the ten words for 2021 were: palm, embank, sheer, wrest, lacuna, whizzed, runny, mustard, balter, and nubivagant.

Without further ado, here are the winners of this year’s 2-Day Poem Contest:

First Place: “In the future you are still here” by Hailey Siracky
Second Place: “a basement birthday party in manitoba, 2006” by Roshni Riar
Third Place: “Untraveled Orbits” by Krishnakumar Sankaran
Editor’s Choice: “undone” by Kari Teicher
Editor’s Mom’s Choice: “Gloss” by David Epstein
People’s Choice: “Jujubes” by Sepideh Soltaninia

Thank you to all those who participated this year, to Halle Gulbrandsen for judging the contest, and to everyone who voted for People’s Choice. An extra special thank you goes out to Charlie Peters, the wonderful mom who selected Editor’s Mom’s Choice!

The winning poems will be published in our Fall 2021 issue and on our website soon.

The 2-Day Poem Contest will be held again in April 2022, and you can find more information about the contest here. See you next year!

“Black Alive & Looking Back at You” Launch

Join us this Thursday, July 22 at 7pm CT for the Zoom launch of our summer issue, Black Alive & Looking Back at You!

You’ll hear from our brilliant guest editors, Chimwemwe Undi and Leslie Joy Ahenda, as well as some of the contributors to this special issue.

This Zoom event will require registration in order to attend. You can find the link to register for the event below, as well as on our social media pages. If you have any trouble registering please email us at

*Registration closed*

People’s Choice — 2021 2-Day Poem Contest

Before we can announce the winners of this year’s 2-Day Poem Contest, we need your help determining who will win People’s Choice! Here you can read all six poems that are finalists for the award. Simply click on the links to open the poems in PDF format, and vote for your favourite below! Voting will remain open until 11:59pm CT on Friday, July 23rd and all winners will be announced on Monday, July 26th.

*Voting for People’s Choice is now closed*