Stratford, Ont. poet wins international award

Heidi Sander reads her award-winning poetry in Stratford, Ont. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (Scott Miller / CTV News)

“Does your light shine brighter when I think of you,” reads Heidi Sander from her award-winning poem, “How They Live On.”

“It just means the world to me,” says Sander, “First of all, because it honours my mom. That’s where the entire poetry collection started."

Sander is the winner of this year’s International Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry. The international contest comes with publication in the magazine, US$1,000 in prize money, and a coveted Pushcart nomination.

You could call it beginner’s luck. “So it was my first time submitting, and I won this award.”

The Stratford-native has written travel books and fiction before, but really only delved into poetry since her mother’s death.

“The last year-and-a-half there was a bit more time on my hands, so I actually got this poetry collection together and a lot of it is based on the passing of my mom. She passed away a few years ago, and I wrote a lot of poetry during that time. It was very cathartic,” she says.

There were submissions from 19 countries and all 50 states for the award, but Sander’s poem stood out for its authenticity and uniqueness.

She hopes the award helps her poetry collection, “The Forest of My Mind” get published, and allows her to help other poets establish themselves in the medium.

“I’m actually developing an online program for poets, to help them find their voices, and get their foot in the door of the publishing world. Just so that I can pass this on, and help other poets,” says Sander.

You can learn more about Sander by visiting: