Northern Ontario Poetry Competition

Next deadline is May 31, 2019

Launch for the 2019 winners will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday Sept 7, 2019, and the location has yet to be set.

Northern Ontario Poetry Competition Rules, Guidelines
& Frequently Asked Questions

Download the rules for your off-line convenience.

How to get copies of the Collections (poetry books)?

Definition of Northern Ontario-click here for expanded version


1. Residency: All entrants must be Northern Ontario residents. Northern Ontario is defined as those residents who have addresses with postal codes beginning with the letter "P".

2. Poems: Poems must be titled, previously unpublished, and typed in black ink one per page on 8.5 x 11 inch white bond paper. Photocopies and letter quality computer printouts are acceptable. Poems are not to exceed 50 lines in length, including the title. Line length exceeding 44 characters including punctuation and spaces may be broken at the discretion of the anthology committee. Once a line has to be broken because of its length, it will count as two lines. Poems that are too long are not even seen by the judge, so please count these lines carefully. Do Not put your name or other identification on the pages your poems are typed on.

3. Entry identification: Your name, address, telephone number and the titles of your poems must appear on a cover page enclosed with your poems. (If you include an email address we will try to let you know that your entry has safely arrived. If you still want to know, enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard we can mail back.) On the pages on which the poems appear, only the title and the poem itself are acceptable -these pages will be numbered on arrival and coded to coincide with your cover page. The judge will not know who wrote the poem, but our registrar will. Entrants must submit their entry under their real name; no pseudonyms allowed. (Folks-it's just too confusing.) Contestants who do not submit under their real name may be subject to disqualification. Fees will not be refunded.

4a. Contest Entry By Mail Your envelope with your entry (entries) to the contest should include:

Your poem(s),

The cover page containing your name, address, telephone number and Poem Title(s),

A cheque or money order for $5.00 per poem submitted. If you're entering more than one poem, one cheque for the whole total is fine. Make cheques out to "White Mountain Publications" (Please do not send cash by mail). There is no official entry form, and no limit on number of entries as long as the appropriate fees are included.

A self-addressed, stamped envelope (#9 or #10 business size envelope please). This S.A.S.E. will be used to invite you to the awards night and launching of the Anthology in September. We encourage you to attend the anthology launch, which is tentatively scheduled for the first Saturday after Labour Day in September. Winners will be announced at the Launch. Invitations are mailed in August.

When your envelope has all these items, address it to:

White Mountain Publications
Northern Ontario Poetry Competition
Box 620,
Cobalt, ON P0J 1C0

4b. Contest Entry By EMail Step by step instructions are given on this page.

5. Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked by May 31st or hand delivered by June 4th. Electronic entries must be received by midnight May 31st. Entries received after that time will be held for the next year's competition.

6. Rights: By entering the contest you are giving White Mountain Publications first Canadian rights for publication in print and possible ebook distribution, and the option to collect all the years' poems into a multi-year compilation at some point. You are free to market your poem(s) in other places, but you should inform them if it has appeared in this anthology.

7. Prizes: Cash prizes will be given to the First, Second, and Third place winners. [First: $100 Second: $75 Third: $50] These winners are decided at the discretion of the judge(s). Decision of the judge(s) is final. All those chosen by the judge(s) to be included in the anthology will receive a certificate and a complimentary copy of the anthology.

Annual Northern Ontario Poetry Competition
Frequently Asked Questions:

What type of poetry are you looking for?

We're looking for poems with vivid images, depth of perception, in a well-crafted format. There is no specific theme or format.

Why has the entry fee increased? [Fee increase started with the 2009 contest]

We have held the line on entry fee increases for 13 years, and expenses have increased many times since 1995. It should have happened sooner, but we held the line as long as we could. This contest is essentially self-financing, which means that even with all the unpaid volunteer hours it still must cover expenses. The fees mean it's possible to continue, and we thought that was important.

How will I know you received my entry?

If you include your email address, we send a quick form response letting you know that it arrived and has been processed. The same can be done by mail if you include a self-addressed, stamped postcard we can stamp a date on, and return to you in the mail.

When will I hear if I'm included in the anthology?

In late July or early August. Place Winners are announced at the Launch the first Saturday after Labour Day and not sooner.

I submitted the same poem in different contests. What happens if it chosen as a winner in the other contest first?

In the case of one of your poems having been published in another place in the time between the NOPC submission deadline May 31st, and the Launch, we have to disqualify that poem for inclusion in the book. If this happens to one of your poems, please let us know as soon as you do, and we'll let you substitute another entry, if the judging has not already started. If judging has started, it still has to be pulled, but we'll allow a free entry in the next year's competition.

What will the anthology look like?

The anthology will be a handsome volume of approximately 48-64 pages, and roughly 8½" tall by 5½" wide.

What happens at the Launch?

Everyone gathers, there are opening comments from White Mountain Publications, then the winners are announced and invited one by one to come and receive their prize and read their winning poem(s). Then all other poets who have been selected for inclusion in the anthology will come up to receive their certificate and copy of the anthology, and read their poems as well. Copies of the anthology are first for sale at the Launch, then available by mail and in bookstores across Northern Ontario. For a more personalized view of what happens at the Launch, click here for Christine Richardson's story about the 2001 Launch.

What happens if I can't make it to the Launch?

Then, with your permission, we will read your poem if it has been selected by the judge for inclusion, and mail your certificate and copy of the anthology to you. We hope you will be there, but will understand your regrets. Northern Ontario is a BIG area to travel.

Who is judging this year's contest?

Most years have had a panel of judges from varying ages and walks of life. The poems that speak to the greater number prevail. Since the panel changes from year to year, they are introduced at the Launch. Sometimes I even tag random customers at the store to get their opinions.

Will there be a contest next year?

Yes, but don't wait to send your entries. The contest is assessed annually for response.

How can I get a copy of the Collections?

The 1996 (#1) Collection entitled Signatures Amid the Green [also as ebook]

1997 (#2) Collection entitled Polestar Visions

1998 (#3) Collection entitled Verses Dancing

1999 (#4) Collection entitled Sketches in Script,

2000 (#5) Collection entitled Horizons North

2001 (#6) Collection entitled Northern Hues

2002 (#7) Collection entitled Northern Ink

2003 (#8) Collection entitled Whispering Words

2004 (#9) Collection entitled Exclamations in Ink

2005 (#10) Collection entitled Ten Pines

2006 (#11) Collection entitled Sylvan Jottings

2007 (#12) Collection entitled Standing Strong

2008 (#13) Collection entitled Moments in Time

2009 (#14) Collection entitled Sunset

2010 (#15) Collection entitled Cloudy Skies, Clear Thoughts

2011 (#16) Collection entitled Scripted Inspiration

2012 (#17) Collection entitled Arising From The Mist

2013 (#18) Collection entitled Spirits in Stone

2014 (#19) Collection entitled Northern Ontario Speaks

2015 (#20) Collection entitled Twenty Years

2016 (#21) Collection entitled Many Northern Voices

2017 (#22) Collection entitled Bards From The Bush

2018 (#23) Collection entitled From The Land of the Moose

2019 (#24) Collection entitled Reaching North

are each available from us here online at White Mountain Publications, and at our new store at 50 Silver Street, Cobalt, ON.

Thank you for your interest in the Competition, and best wishes for your success.