About Us

By funding the Griffin Poetry Prize – the world’s largest international prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English. The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry aims to spark the public’s imagination and raise awareness of the crucial role poetry plays in our cultural life.

The Griffin Trust was founded in April 2000 by Chairman Scott Griffin, along with Trustees Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young. In 2004 Carolyn Forché was named a Trustee and joined the list of internationally-acclaimed writers who sit on the board of the Griffin Trust. In 2014, Karen Solie, Colm Tóibín and Mark Doty were named Trustees, in 2016, Jo Shapcott and Marek Kazmierski, in 2018, Ian Williams and in 2020, Sarah Howe. Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson, Jo Shapcott and Colm Tóibín have assumed the role of Trustees Emeriti. Learn more about the Trustees here.

“Poetry is something more philosophical and more worthy of serious attention than history.”
– Aristotle

The Griffin Trust’s support for poetry focuses on the annual Griffin Poetry Prize, which awards two literary prizes of $65,000 each and and $10,000 is awarded to the other shortlisted poets who read at the annual Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings in Toronto. A Canadian prize is given to a living poet/translator resident in Canada; an international prize is given to a living poet/translator from any country in the world. Both prizes may include works in translation. Judges are selected annually by the trustees and the prizes are awarded in the spring of each year.

The Griffin Poetry Prize is promoted through an evening of readings by the shortlisted poets, and by the marketing and advertising organized through the media, publishers and bookstores. Eligible collections of poetry are those published between January 1 and December 31 of any given year. Submissions are accepted from publishers only.

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

Full details of application procedures for the prize are available here.


8 Replies to “About Us”

  1. I used to write poetry for 20 years. No one in this country would help me. Now I work in visual arts and graphic design. Canadians don’t just don’t respect or appreciate each other.

  2. Hello…a friend of mine recently told me about this Griffin Trust For Excellence in Poetry…I read the Rules to the Poetry Prize and it states to enter, you must submit
    ‘four copies of each submitted title’; I just had my first ‘Poetry’ book titled ‘Feelings for Life’ published and would like to enter the contest…do I send you four books or just four copies of poems?…

  3. Sharon, thanks for your interest in the Griffin Poetry Prize. Per the rules, submissions must come from publishers, and we ask for four copies of each book.

  4. Please is there room for unpublished author’s? I have numerous poems that l wish to publish and wish to enter for competitions to this effect.
    Thanks for the anticipated information.

  5. Where can un published Canadian authors get help, my work is more real & riveting than 90% & published crap. The only real poetry I have seen lately is in the spoken word scene but even then it is lacking especially for females & rhyming poems. As I child I was obsessed with Robert Louis Stevenson (where’s my 6th grade English teacher didn’t know who he was!!!) I was also very fond of Thomas hood at an extremely young age & started writing my own poetry at 11. I am afraid to submit my poetry to contests because someone might steal my poetry & claim they wrote it . Not quite sure how to go about copy writing it as I never went to high school so I’m not tech savey but I know whenever Ive shared my poetry the listeners have been left speechless & even in tears. So I’m kind of sad I can’t enter this contest, this foundation actually looks legit. I guess I will just continue applying for disability… would be nice to actually accomplish something tho. They say the pen in mightier than the sword, but my pen brings me nothing but pages & pages of words strung together that no ears will ever hear & no eyes will ever see
    This is the life I know
    Yes this is fate for me

  6. Are there any other contests going on at the moment? I was very excited until I realized that for the poetry contest you have to be a PUBLISHED writer. I am not….yet.

  7. Jennifer, we recommend heading to your favourite search engine to look for “poetry contests unpublished” and the like that might suit what you’re seeking. When/if you do want to pursue publishing, we do offer some publishing resources here. Best wishes!

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