The Winners, 13th BrainStorm Poetry Contest 2015March 31, 2015 – During the last weekend of March, five writers came together at NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action as this year’s judges of our annual poetry contest. They had already been working through the 326 entries in the contest for more than a week and had narrowed down the entries to 28 for the final round of judging. At the end of the day, after scoring all the poems against set criteria, they reviewed the results. So it is that we can now announce that the following poems have been selected as winners of the 13th Annual BrainStorm Poetry Contest.


by Cindy St. Onge
Portland, Oregon, USA


“Curb Collection”
by Tamara Simpson
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


“What Has and Hasn’t”
by Tyler Gabrysh
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada


by Ruthie-Marie Beckwith
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

“Observational” and “The 4th Floor”
by Katy Richey
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

“The Rain King”
by Thomas Leduc
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Congratulations to all our winners, whose poems will be published in upcoming issues of NISA’s magazine Open Minds Quarterly. Readers will be able to read the First-, Second-, and Third-Place poems in the Spring 2015 edition, to be released in early May, and the Honourable Mentions in the Fall 2015 issue, in October.

We pay respect, too, to all poets who entered the contest. All of you put time and effort into supporting this contest, and put aside fears and self-doubt to share in an effort to share your work with a wider audience. The poems we received moved us and shook us and inspired us. Many of you are clearly dedicated to the craft of poetry and we hope you will consider submitting your work to Open Minds Quarterly for consideration.

Finally, a big thank you to all the people who made this contest a success — the entrants, our judges, and the friends who shared and tweeted and posted the contest announcements. With your help, we were able to raise $515 for Open Minds Quarterly. Every penny counts in this non-profit business, and now we have 51, 500 more.

Next year’s contest opens Monday, January 4, 2016. Sign up for our newsletter to get the all the news.

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