Thursday, June 8, 2023
June 8, 2023

Maia Cassie wins national poetry contest

A Salt Spring Island teen has won first place in a national poetry recitation competition that had 20,000 participants this year.

Maia Cassie, who is in Grade 11 at Queen Margaret School (QMS) in Duncan, entered after learning about the Poetry in Voice event online. Entrants were required to memorize and perform three poems from a variety of resources from the Poetry in Voice website.

Cassie’s choices were She Said by Robert Bringhurst; Regardless by Aisha Sasha John; and The Ghosts of Women Once Girls by Aja Monet. After being selected as a semi-finalist, Cassie was flown to Calgary for the April 21 on-stage competition, where she earned first place in the English recitation category, a trophy and a $3,000 cash prize.

“The Poetry in Voice national finals were an absolutely unforgettable experience, and I’m so honoured to have had the opportunity to go,” said Cassie. “My time in Calgary was packed with fascinating workshops on everything from changing the world through poetry to making paper by hand, and I got to meet so many talented, passionate poets and performers. I could’ve never anticipated what a welcoming and inspiring community I would discover through this competition.”

Competition judges were poets Richard Harrison, Micheline Maylor and Titilope Sonuga.

Poetry in Voice is a not-for-profit organization that encourages all Canadians to read poetry aloud and holds the annual competition open to all high school students in Canada.

Cassie was accompanied on the trip to Calgary by her QMS humanities teacher Katie Colosimo.

“After spending the week with incredible student poets and reciters, as well as engaging in activities led by professional poets, I have made professional connections across the country and discovered a renewed enthusiasm for the power of poetry,” said Colosimo. “I am excited to bring the Poetry in Voice program into QMS classrooms in the future, and to share at least a bit of the inspiration I feel after this week.”

April was also National Poetry Month in Canada.


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