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14 PNG entries in richest poetry prize

Leonard Cohen (Graham Hughes)
A mural of the famous songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, one of the original sponsors of the Montreal Prize, looks down on Montreal city (Graham Hughes)


NOOSA - Fourteen Papua New Guinean writers have submitted entries to the Montreal (Canada) International Prize for Poetry, the first time that PNG has been represented in one of the world’s major poetry contests.

The poets - six women and eight men - are Caroline Evari, Michael Dom, Wardley Barry, Bessielah David, Simon Davidson, Jordan Dean, Jimmy Drekore, Raymond Sigimet, Stephanie Alois, Dominica Are, Joseph Tambure, Tattiana Abola, Eric Molong and Melanie Lavaki.

The prize is run every two years by the Department of English at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and offers the world’s richest prize for poetry, $20,000 (K50,000).

The contest has attracted more than 2,000 entries from poets in over 100 countries.

A jury of internationally famed poets and critics select a shortlist of 50 poems from which the judge, Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Yusef Komunyakaa, will choose one winner, to be announced in September.

The entire shortlist of 50 poems will be published in The Global Poetry Anthology.

Each entry is an original, unpublished poem of 40 lines or fewer. The language of the competition is English.

The entry fees for all PNG poets were paid by Prof Michael Nicholson of McGill University and me as an expression of our thanks and appreciation to Papua New Guinean poets and their poetry.

“What you've put together is truly inspired and generous,” Prof Nicholson wrote to me after the PNG entries were received.

“I'm thrilled to see that we'll have so many PNG poets participating in this year's competition. My entire team and I have found inspiration in you and the good work you do.”

When the contest concludes, all entries and profiles of the poets will be published on PNG Attitude.


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Raymond Sigimet

Bikpela tok tenk yu.

Am looking forward to the publication of fellow literary enthusiasts entries and profiles on PNG Attitude.

A collection of sort for PNG Attitude. A win for PNG Literature.


That is awesome! All the best and thankyou for the kindness put forth for the love of writing, poetry and belief in Papua New Guinean writers and poets.

We hope for the best outcome. Blessings always.

Dominica Are

Thank you Keith for all your support to PNG literature and to Prof Michael Nicholson for extending the invitation to Papua New Guinean poets to participate in this international poetry contest and for paying our entry fees. Truly appreciate it.

Jordan Dean

Thank you Keith for supporting PNG writers and poets. I am hoping some of our poems make it to the anthology.

Simon Davidson

Thanks Keith for informing us of the poetry competition and paying the entry fees to enable all those who submitted to enter.

Win or lose is not the major issue. The main thing in my opinion is to show the nation's poetic talent on the global stage.

Salute to the ardent supporters of PNG literature and poets from Aussieland and PNG. Thanks a zillion.

Bernard Corden

It's great to see the event is commemorated with a mural of the late field commander Leonard Cohen and of all his lyrics the line, "Everybody knows that the captain lied", is probably the most significant.

Stephanie Alois

Thank you so much Keith Jackson and PNG Attitude for giving me this privilege to take part in the international poetry prize and thank you Keith and Prof Michael Nicholson of McGill University for your generosity in paying our entry fees.

Lindsay F Bond

Each an individual, each who writes unusual, each who shows non-casual, each let's cheer for you.

(Please excuse this enthusiasm for Poems PNG, and salute to supporters.)

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