The Griffin Poetry Prize 2021

Two prizes of CAD $65,000 (approximately $48,750) each are given annually for poetry collections by a Canadian poet or translator and by an international poet or translator published during the previous year. Finalists receive CAD $10,000 (approximately $7,500) each for their participation in the shortlisted readings event to be held in Toronto in June. Paula Meehan, Kei Miller, and Hoa Nguyen will judge. Publishers may submit four copies of a book of at least 48 pages published in 2020 by December 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

How to enter 

If you’re interested in submitting entries for the Griffin Poetry Prize, here is a brief overview of what you need to know:

  • Entries must come from publishers only. Inquiries about entries must also come from publishers only.
    (Please note that the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry is not a publishing company. If you are interested in learning more about companies around the world that publish poetry, we invite you to take a look at our database of publishers who have submitted entries to the Griffin Poetry Prize since the prize’s inception. Writers’ organizations and poetry associations often offer useful publishing resources, and we provide links to some of them here.)
  • Publishers are welcome to enter an unlimited number of titles. Please click here to download an Entry Form and a complete version of the Rules.
  • The Griffin Poetry Prize is awarded annually in two categories – International and Canadian. Each prize is worth C$65,000. In each category, the prize is for the best collection of poetry in English published during the preceding year. One prize goes to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country, which may include Canada. C$10,000 goes to each shortlisted poet who reads at the annual Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings in Toronto, Canada.
  • To be eligible for the International prize, a book of poetry must be a first-edition collection (i.e. not previously published in any country), written in English, or translated into English, by a poet/translator from any part of the world, including Canada. To be eligible for the Canadian prize, a book of poetry must be a first-edition collection (i.e. not previously published in any country), written in English or translated into English by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada.
  • No self-published book is eligible. This requirement is consistent with major literary prizes around the world. Learn more here.
  • Books must have been published in English during the calendar year preceding the year of the award.
  • All 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize entries, regardless of their 2020 publication dates (January 1st to December 31st, 2020) can be submitted up to December 31, 2020. For this year, the June 30th deadline will be waived.
  • Note: The Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist is announced every year in April. The official shortlist is issued by the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry via press release and the Griffin Poetry Prize’s social media channels, and is posted to the Griffin Poetry Prize web site. From time to time, authors or publishers indicate that their works have been nominated for the prize, but what they are announcing is that their works have been submitted for prize consideration.

Every year, the Griffin Trustees select a panel of qualified judges of stature. As stipulated in the Griffin Poetry Prize rules, judges may not be on salary at a publishing house that issues contemporary poetry.

From the hundreds of books submitted and read by the designated judges, they compile a shortlist of up to seven outstanding books of poetry: four International and three Canadian. From the shortlist, the judges will select the final winners in the International and Canadian categories. Shortlisted Canadian books are eligible for both prizes.

The judges have absolute discretion in interpreting the rules, and their decision is final. All decisions of the judges are also unanimous.

Here are the esteemed judges who have awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize each year since its inception. Click the year to view full biographies for that year’s judges.


  • Ilya Kaminsky
  • Aleš Šteger
  • Souvankham Thammavongsa
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