Rabindranath Tagore Poetry Competition

Contest open until midnight April 27, 2024

Welcome to the Manitoba Writers’ Guild inaugural Rabindranath Tagore Poetry Competition, an event generously sponsored by Dr. Kamal Malaker.

Tagore’s works often celebrated dualities — the finite and the infinite. This year, the theme for this competition is the transnational experience (all nations including the nations of identity in an occupied land), or the intersections of multiple cultural heritages within oneself. 

This is a favourite topic of competition coordinator, Nathalie Kaboha, who discusses her own relationship to this phenomena:

“I was raised in Oceania and came to Manitoba as a young adult. However, each of my grandparents hails from a different country: one is Ugandan, another is French-New Caledonian, the third is Swiss, and the fourth is Irish-Australian. What does that make me? I dream in one language, think in another, and speak in a third. I embody a mosaic of cultures that intersect in ways that are complex.”

Can you relate? If any part of this strikes a chord with you, we hope this competition encourages you to explore and express your own unique journey.

Ce concours de poésie accepte les poèmes en français et en anglais / For this poetry contest, we are accepting submissions in English and in French.

Rabindranath Tagore poetry competition 2024


First Place
$500 CAD

Second Place
$250 CAD

Third Place
$100 CAD

2024 Judges

Sally Ito

Sally Ito

I am a poet and translator living in Winnipeg. I’ve translated the Japanese children’s poetry of Misuzu Kaneko with co-translator Michiko Tsuboi for the book Are You an Echo: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, and more recently have translated the 17th century Austrian devotional poet, Catharina Regina Von Greiffenberg with co-translators Joanne Epp and Sarah Klassen for the book Wonder-Work: Selected Sonnets of Catharina Regina Von Greiffenberg.  I teach creative writing at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.

Yelani Peiris

Yelani Peiris

I am a director on the board of Contemporary Verse 2 Inc, a first reader, a writer, and a volunteer to the arts. As a Sri Lankan poet living in so called “Winnipeg, Manitoba,” I am immersed in the narrative of diaspora on a daily basis. The multicultural story involves diverse experiences, and I need to engage in navigating the roles of settler and immigrant. I look forward to hearing your story.

Samir Kifah Georges

Samir Kifah Georges

My name is Samir Kifah Georges, also known as Sam, a Lebanese Canadian poet with over two decades of experience as a poet. In my youth, I published a small collection of poetry titled ‘As I Write These Words’, sparking my involvement in the Canadian grassroots poetry scene. Currently, I serve as a board member and volunteer for a Canadian poetry publication and continue to explore the art of poetry through my personal writing. Having witnessed the transformative power of art firsthand, I am excited to share in this chapter of your poetic journey. 

David Yerex Williamson at Bay black and white portrait

David Williamson

David Yerex Williamson is a poet and instructor living in Treaty V Territory (Norway House, Manitoba). He is a member of The Writers Union of Canada, an associate of the League of Canadian Poets, and a board director for the Manitoba Writers Guild. His poetry has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2 and other magazines. His first literary appearance was a stage play produced at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival (Winnipeg Free Press’ Pick of the Fringe, 1993). David’s first full length collection, Through Disassembled Houses of Perfect Stones, was published by At Bay Press in 2022 and nominated for the Eileen McTavish Sykes Best First Book Award at the 2023 Manitoba Book Awards.

David studied literature and cross-cultural education at University of Manitoba, Brandon and Laurentian Universities. He has taught rhetoric and composition, literature and interpersonal communication at the college and university level, and presented at academic and national conferences on writing about identity, culture and landscape.

When not snowshoeing, cooking or drawing, David cuts wood, shovels snow, and chases his dogs along the historic Nelson River.

three triangles in white, teal, and black

Additional Judges

  • Lise Gaboury-Diallo
  • Zulfqar Hyder
  • Paul Morris
  • Sandy Pool
  • Erin Weinberg

Please be sure to follow these guidelines as every one of them is important to ensure your story is accepted and read. 

We actively encourage submissions from all writers who are 18+ years of age, including writers with disabilities, writers in the 2SLGTBQIA+ communities, BIPOC writers, mature writers, and other under-represented communities.

  • Submissions open January 03, 2024.
  • Submissions close April 27, 2024, at 11:59 CST.
  • Open to persons residing in Manitoba.
  • Poems may have up to 50 lines of poetry maximum.
  • Submissions must be submitted in Times New Roman and 12-point font
  • Include page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of your document with the poem title in the header of each page.
  • This is a blind judging contest. There should be no identifying information on the poem document. 
  • Your submission must include:
    • Your poem with its title, followed by the line count, with no other identifying information.
    • All the information requested in the competition form on the website. Please ensure that where the form asks for the title of your entry, your title must match exactly the title that is on the front page of your submitted poem. 
    • Payment submitted through our website submission portal.
  • No simultaneous submissions. Howaever, each poet may submit multiple poems separately to this contest. Up to 5 poems will be accepted per poet, provided they are each submitted separately. Entries must be previously unpublished and not under consideration by any other publication. Previously published includes both traditionally and self-published in print and e-format including all printed formats, ezines, blogs, online literature sites, and newsletters.
  • All entries must be original works by the entrant. Entries must be organically created, that is, written by the author. Poems generated by, written with, or influenced by AI, will be disqualified. The use of third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters, or another person’s universe, without written permission, will result in disqualification.
  • Your document must be sent in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt format. No other file types will be accepted.
  • The judges’ decisions are final.
  • All entries must be submitted through a dedicated portal on the Manitoba Writers’ Guild website. 
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