Poet laureate initiates SD71 poetry contest

Comox Valley poet laureate Kevin Flesher has a district-wide student poetry contest in the works, with cash prizes. - File photo
Comox Valley poet laureate Kevin Flesher has a district-wide student poetry contest in the works, with cash prizes.
— image credit: File photo

Youth poetry is alive and rolling into Kevin Flesher’s inbox.

The inspired and unceasingly active Comox Valley poet laureate, Flesher’s latest undertaking has him teaming up with School District 71, organizing the first-ever district-wide poetry contest, complete with cash prizes and publication.

“Youth have so much to offer, and they often don’t realize how good they can be,” says Flesher.

Open to all students and staff in the district, the prizes lined up for the winners are $100, $50 and $25 dollars for first second and third places.

Many of the submitted poems will then be published in a booklet, with copies placed in every school library in the district for students to enjoy, and be inspired, said Flesher. Copies will also be available to the general public.

Deadline for submissions is noon, March 1.  The works must be emailed as a Word document attached to an email, with the words ‘poetry contest in the subject line, and sent to

“This initiative reflects our school district's commitment to fine arts and literacy,” said Flesher. “It shows the power of creativity to bring people together and foster inspiration.”

Already, Flesher has received dozens of entries “and every day there are more. We’ll have a night of readings from contestants in a month, so these poems can be shared.”

Flesher himself topped a shortlist of talented and serious Comox Valley poetry artists last year to become Poet Laureate.  The position was created by the Comox Valley Community Arts Council to promote poetry and to serve as an ambassador of the arts in the community.

Flesher noted that acting superintendent of schools Tom Demeo and the district’s print shop have been very supportive of the youth poetry project. “They were instrumental,” he said.


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