Photo by Ann Towell
Photo by Ann Towell

Third Annual Carmen Ziolkowski Poetry Prize

In the spirit of beloved Sarnia poet Carmen Ziolkowski, The Lawrence House Literary Arts Committee is seeking well-crafted poetry that is heartfelt, nature-based, and hopeful for the third annual Carmen Ziolkowski Poetry Prize. The deadline is April 30, 2024.

Carmen was born near Naples, Italy, in 1924, and immigrated to Canada in 1955. She studied journalism at Port Huron Junior College and taught creative writing at Lambton College. Her books of poetry include Roses Bloom at Dusk (1976), World of Dreams (1995), and The Moon Before the Sun (2009).

She and her husband Bruno had two sons, Robin and Jim, and three grandchildren, Alexandra, Nicholas, and Samantha. She loved family, nature, travel, and literature. A vibrant member of the Sarnia-Lambton writing community, Carmen passed away on December 26, 2018, at the age of 94.   

Prizes: With generous support from the Ziolkowski family, this year’s first prize is again $500, second prize $250, and third prize $100, with selected Honourable Mentions.

Eligibility: The contest is open to everyone.

Submission Criteria: Up to three poems in English of up to 40 lines each. Poems must be previously unpublished. You may wish to review the winners of last year’s contest in the Uproar Archive.

Deadline: Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

Entry Fee: Ten dollars ($10) Canadian, five dollars ($5) Canadian for members of The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts.

Blind Judging: Carmen’s friends and fellow writers Ryan Gibbs and Lois Nantais will serve as judges for the poetry prize.

Ryan Gibbs is a Communications professor at Lambton College who has published over fifty poems in eight countries. His poems inspired by Carmen include “Do Not Bring Me Flowers (for Carmen)” in Subterranean Blue and “The House of Four Winds” in the Association of Italian Canadian Writers’ Venera Fazio Poetry Contest.

Rhonda Melanson is a teacher with the Lambton Kent District School Board.  She graduated from Queen’s University’s Artist in The Community Education program. Rhonda has had many poems published in print and online journals and is the author of two chapbooks: “Gracenotes” (Beret Days Press) and “My Name Is Mary” (Alien Buddha Press).

Lois Nantais is a published poet with work appearing in journals and anthologies, including Lummox, Tamaracks, Ascent Aspirations, and Room Magazine. Lois is a Psychology Professor at Lambton College and often uses poetry in the academic setting, specializing in interpersonal communication and ethics using insight-based narrative tools for personal development.

Winners: Winners will be contacted by email. Their works will be featured in a special issue of the Uproar Literary Blog. Last year nearly one hundred poems were submitted from across Canada.

How to Submit: You may enter up to 3 poems by completing and submitting the form below. Please pay for your submission using the appropriate button below the form and then check out from our Shopify store. If you are not already a member of The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts and wish to purchase a membership, you may also do that below. To learn more about membership, please visit our page “About/Become a Member.”

2023 Winners:
2022 Winners:

Carmen Ziolkowski Poetry Prize Submission Form
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