Federation of British Columbia Writers,
2018 Literary Writes Poetry Contest


Feb 12, 2018: Winner, and Honorable Mentions

Our judge Patricia Young had a difficult time choosing a winner, but we would like to congratulate Barbara Black, from Victoria, for winning Literary Writes 2018 with her poem “Child Bride, Hawkesbury, Ontario, 1918. Below are Patricia’s comments on the winning poem:

Through the use of apple imagery, this haunting poem tells the story of a doubtless ordinary occurrence in 18th century Canada. The language is rich and leaping. Rather than confront her situation directly, the narrator (a child about to be married to an older man) speaks of “Perfumed flesh,” “Maiden Blush” and “Seek-no-Further.” She also speaks of the “Knobbed Russet,” an apple riddled with “ugly welts and knobs.” In a quiet but powerful understatement, she tells us “I do not like” this “potato-pocked” apple. It is almost as though the narrator feels she must speak in code, using the names of the apples and their particular qualities to address her plight and future. There is a heaviness to this poem, a sense of suffocation and cellar darkness, her only escape. Because every apple image begs a deeper meaning, this evocative prose poem bears reading and re-reading.

Patricia also wanted to give three honorable mentions–these are in no particular order:

“Waiting for the Ferry” – Derek Hanebury, Port Alberni

While the narrator of this thoughtful, controlled poem is waiting in a ferry line, he observes the world around him — his family inside the car, his daughter’s sleeping dog, his wife in her reclining seat — as well as the outside world: “the ferry guy with his Grecian hair” and “the snow on Black Tusk.” The voice is questioning, contemplative, almost mournful. Through the use of concrete imagery, the narrator takes us through his ponderings: what will his life be as a future retiree, his long-time job and sense of place in the world a thing of the past?  

“Postcards from the Shadows” – Leanne Boschman, East Vancouver

So many ways to look at a shadow, the word shadow, the idea of shadow, a literal shadow. This poem explores and opens up the image of shadow. The language is clean, the twists and turns unpredictable. It was a delight to read the many unexpected turns a shadow can take, the marvellous ways in which the word “shadow” can be used as verb, adjective or noun. A poem with a wondrous sense of serious play.

“The Buck” — Susan Braley, Victoria

This poem, in honour of “The buck in our yard,” describes the animal in language that is both literal and metaphysical. The poet imagines the buck with the “implacable” rack, as a diviner of “silver, ruby, deep spring waters, other-world rivers,” a kind of “Hamlet, with the weight, the weight/of his title.” Sadly, the magnificent animal (Zeus, Vikings, Hamlet) is also “maimed,” one leg “disjointed at the knee.” This lovely poem’s tension derives from the image of a wild animal brought low in an urban setting.

Thank you all so much for entering this competition. As the administrator, I had the opportunity to read many wonderful poems, and I can appreciate how difficult Patricia’s job here really was. Look for our next contest very soon!

Shaleeta Harrison
Executive Director


Short List:

There were so many poems the judges loved that did not quite make it onto the sshortlist Please — keep writing and submit your work to us again, remember too that we are always looking for submissions of poetry at our magazine, WordWorks.

And now — drumroll — here are the ten poets whose work made our short list:

Postcards From The Shadows, Leanne Boschman, East Vancouver

On Being Two Months Married, Charlene Kwiatkowski, Vancouver

Bee,  Kelly Madden, Comox Valley

We Strive to Dismiss Their Prejudices,  P. W. Bridgman, Vancouver

If You Think Of Death, Andrew Brown

The Buck, Susan Braley, Victoria

Child Bride, Hawkesbury, Ontario, Barbara Black, Victoria

Waiting For The Ferry,  Derek Hanebury, Port Alberni

Summer Island,  Judith Stouffer, Denman Island

As If Penelope, Michelle Brown, Victoria

Congratulations to you all. We’d like to thank our excellent judges for their work. The Winners will be announced on our webpage on February 12, 2018



Submissions Now Closed.

Open Poetry Contest

The FBCW seeks your best unpublished Poem that reflects your writing style. There is no theme or required subject matter. Prose poetry and other unique formats are welcomed: we look forward to your submissions.

Judge – Patricia Young
Prize – The winner will receive a cash prize of $350.


Contest Details

  • The deadline for submissions is midnight January 15, 2018.
  • A short list will be published at www.bcwriters.ca on January 29, 2018.
  • The winner will be notified by email.
  • The winner will be announced at www.bcwriters.ca on February 12, 2018.
  • The winning entry will be published in the FBCW magazine WordWorks. The winner will also receive one year’s FBCW membership.



  • One poem per entry, maximum length 60 lines, including title & spaces between stanzas.
  • Entry fee for each submission is $5 for FBCW members, $10 for non-FBCW members
  • All submitted work must be original, previously unpublished, and not awaiting publication anywhere. Previously published is considered to be any appearance in print or online, including on or in a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, anthology, chapbook, book, website, electronic magazine, personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Please use standard margins, 12-point font
  • Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, or .pdf
  • Entries will be blind-judged. To assure anonymity please do not put your name on your story or poem in the file you upload or in the file name. Make sure the title of your piece is in the file name.

Judging will be based on

  • Compelling use of language
  • Overall writing style


How to Submit

To enter, please go here. You will need to have ready:

  • Your submission in a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file format with no identifiable information on any of the pages
  • A cover letter, including a short biographical statement (under 150 words). This will be pasted into the form, not attached
  • The title of the submission
  • A PayPal account or credit card to pay the submission fee

Only online entries will be accepted. FBCW board members and employees are unable to win the prizes. FBCW has designated the external site Submittable to manage the submissions to the contest.

To see the past contest details, go here.

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