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Black Poetry Recitation Contest

Black Poetry Recitation Contest

Black Poetry Recitation Contest - York U (PDF)

The Black Poetry Recitation Contest is a poetry recitation contest for students in Grades 9 – 12 attending high schools in the Greater Toronto Area.

Registration is free and open to all students.

How does the Contest Work?
  • Student contestants choose and learn to recite poems from our anthology of
    Black poetry.
  • Each student has to commit their selected poem to memory and practise their
    recitation skills.
  • Students compete in the spring in celebration of Black History Month 2020.
Student Eligibility
  • For students to be eligible for the contest, they must work with a teacher
    at their school to participate in the Black Poetry Recitation Contest.
  • Finalists will have an opportunity to work with a poet in preparation
    for the competition.
  • A school can name up to 5 students to participate in the Finals.
  • Students must be attending a school in the Greater Toronto Area, defined as
    City of Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, Durham Region, and Halton Region.
  • All competitors must be aged 18 or younger by September 30, 2019.
Key Dates

Monday, October 7, 2019:
Schools indicate interest in contest at

Monday, November 18, 2019:
Registration of individual student contestants

Saturday, March 7, 2020:
Finals at York University

At the Finals, the top 3 competitors and their teachers will win prizes.

Why Participate?


  • Increase your knowledge about Black poets and poetry
  • Improve your presentation and public speaking skills
  • Receive coaching from actual poets
  • A chance to win a cash prize
  • A chance to win a prize for your teacher


  • Support the integration of Black literature and arts in the curriculum
  • Increase your knowledge of Black literature and poetry
  • Support your students in learning more about Black literature and poetry
  • A chance to win a prize

The purpose of the Black Poetry Recitation Contest is to raise the visibility and prestige of formal poetry by Black writers of the Diaspora among teachers and students.
The absence of Black literature – and more so, Black poetry - in secondary and tertiary school curricula motivates our work. It is our hope that those who participate in
this contest as competitors, coaches, and spectators will have an increased interest in and appreciation for the poets and poetry of the Black diaspora.