CanLip: The Great Canadian YouTube Poetry Contest


  • Poet must submit original work and be the sole author of the poem. No group pieces.
  • Poet must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, living in North America (due to our financial restrictions we can not offer international flights to the winner).
  • YouTube rules apply.
  • All creative participants must be credited in the video or YouTube description.
  • Time limit of 3:30 (shorter is fine, of course), just as with slam there is a ten second grace period.
  • Existing videos allowed, new videos welcomed.
  • $12 entry fee.
  • Thumbs down do not minus from your score.
  • Multiple entries are allowed, but likes on multiple videos are not cumulative.
  • All ages welcome.


  • February 1, Submission deadline.
  • February 2–15, Phase One of voting with likes.
  • February 16, Short list announced. Guest judges evaluate.
  • February 23, Winner announced along with honourable mentions.


  • Ian Keteku*
  • RC Weslowski
  • Kryshan Randel
  • Tanya Evanson
  • Tanya Davis

*Keteku graciously bowed out of judging after declaring a conflict of interest with one of the finalists. Julie Peters, President of VPH and co-founder of the East Van Poetry Salon, filled in as his replacement.


  • 1st place wins: flight to Verses 2015, accommodation, video shown, festival pass, and option to be a Canadian Individual Poetry Slam storm poet.

How to Enter

Entries no longer accepted for this year.

Frequently Asked Questions

If it is entirely tallied by “likes” how can the competition include videos that people have previously uploaded? They already have likes.

On Feb 2nd, when the voting starts, we will record how many votes the video has. On Feb 16th, we’ll check again. The amount of votes accumulated in that period is the number tallied. In other words, likes before Feb 2nd don’t count.

What things are expressly forbidden? Is it like the slam where you can’t have music or props? 

Music and animation are allowed. You may even have someone else voice your poem. Props and costumes are allowed. However, the text of the poem must be an original creation written by a single applicant (no group pieces). YouTube rules apply and all creative participants must be credited.

Where will the videos be seen? 

They will be seen on a YouTube playlist on the Van Slam YouTube channel.

How many times can people vote?

Technically, you can vote once per computer. That’s not a perfect situation, but it’s as close to one vote per person as the internet allows. That’s also why the final stage of voting is by five judges.

How does the final voting stage work?

Each of the five judges will independently assign each video a score between 0.0 and 10.0. The highest and lowest scores will be dropped and each of the videos will receive a total score out of 30. The video with the highest total score wins. Just like a slam.

Would I be able to perform the poem I submit as part of the CIPS competition, if I won?

If you win and choose to be a CIPS poet (which I hope you would!), and if you make it to CIPS Finals, then we’ll show the winning poem at the end of the competition, so as not to influence the judges. In other words yes, you would be able to use the poem you submit in CIPS.