Skip to Content

DEADLINE: The MindLeap Poetry Competition 2021

May 11, 2021

Sponsored by St. John’s Poet Laureate Mary Dalton to mark National Poetry Month 2021,
in co-operation with the Department of English at 
Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Entrants in the competition are asked to make a riddle-poem in which one of the following entities speaks:

• apple,
• bread,
• cancer,
• concrete,
• mask,
• motorcycle,
• Netflix,
• onion,
• the letter M or
• the letter O,
• tree,
• Zoom.

The reader’s task is to deduce the speaker’s identity.

There are samples of such riddles below.

Submissions may include more than one riddle focusing on more than one entity. Generally riddle-poems are short, ranging from four to ten lines or so; no line is superfluous, with each giving clues to the identity of the speaker. All submitted riddles must include the answer at the bottom of the riddle. The competition winner will receive a handsome package of poetry volumes, by Newfoundland poets as well as poets from elsewhere, along with a poetry honorarium of one hundred dollars. The winning poem will be published in The Telegram.

The deadline for submissions is May 11, by 3 p.m.

Submissions must be hitherto unpublished in any form (print, electronic, or aural). All residents and former residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are eligible to enter this competition. Because of the pandemic, please send your submission virtually, as a WORD attachment with no identifying information in the attachment itself. In the subject line of your email please put MindLeap Poetry Competition. In the body of the email, include your name, postal and email address, and telephone number. Send submissions to:

The winner of The MindLeap Poetry Award will be announced in The Telegram in mid-May and on the Department of English website and elsewhere in the following week. Arrangements for delivery of the competition prize will be made with the winner via email.

Sample riddle-poems (by Mary Dalton):

I’ve got more pleats than a girl’s skirt—
and I’m the first to jump up for a dance.
I fancy the swoop, the razzamatazz.
Draw me out at a party
and I’m a real old smoothie.
Ah I’m on to the ins and outs of a tune.
But I’m a touchy sort:

rough handling makes me squawk.                           (An accordion)

I’m a drifter, shape-shifter;
I’m prone to upheaval.
Now I’m castle, now cathedral.
Although you note my diminishing

there’s more to me than meets the eye.                     (An iceberg)

A jumbled alphabet—
I’m a means to your saying.
A skittering creature

at rest by my side.                                                      (A keyboard)

There will be more sample riddles as well as information about the contest and the riddle-poem form in the May 10 edition of The Telegram newspaper. See too the riddle sequence “I’m Bursting to Tell” in the poetry collection Red Ledger and the riddle-poem chapbook Between You and the Weather, both by Mary Dalton, as well as Sylvia Plath’s poems “Metaphors” and “You’re” online. (Note that the riddle-poem form focused on here is not the two-liner q. and a. form.)

Times and Locations

May 11, 2021

3:00 pm