Comox Valley Poet Laureate Search

2019-2021 Poet Laureate Nominations & Applications now being accepted.

Current Poet Laureate: 2017-2019, Natalie Nickerson

First Poet Laureate: 2015-2017, Kevin Flesher

Are you a writer, a poet, a wordsmith?  Do you live in the Comox Valley? Do you take pride in your community?  Are you passionate about crafting creative written or spoken pieces that celebrate important community events?

If the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes,” then the Comox Valley Arts Council is looking for you.  We are now taking applications for our 2019 Comox Valley Poet Laureate.

The Comox Valley Poet Laureate creates a variety of works during a two-year term to celebrate or commemorate significant community events (Miners Memorial, Canada Day, etc.), and will serve as a touchstone for the mood and culture of the community.

This is an honourary position.  The poet laureate will receive a small annual stipend, as well as significant recognition throughout each year for their work and contribution to the literary fabric of our community.

The Poet Laureate position is open to all creators of poetic or lyrical works who live and work in the Comox Valley (between Oyster River and Mud Bay), who have resided here for at least two years and who will continue to reside here during the two-year tenure.

Each term, a region-wide search is conducted, after which a short list of finalists are chosen and interviewed by the jury.  Following this process, which includes a performance component, the jury will select the person best able to represent our community poetically.

The honour of poet laureate is supplemented by a cash honorarium, built from sponsorships raised by Comox Valley Arts.

We may not give you a bronze statue in a park… but being the Poet Laureate is still a pretty cool job! 

Comox Valley Poet Laureate Search

2019-2021 Poet Laureate Nominations & Applications now being accepted. Current Poet Laureate, Natalie Nickerson (2017-2019); First Poet Laureate, Kevin Flesher (2015-2017), and the Comox Valley Arts Council have begun the search for our next Poet Laureate, to engage and inspire the community for a new two-year term.

“We’re encouraging word artists from all forms of poetic expression, from songwriters and rappers to classic page poets and spoken word artists,” says CVPL Committee member Jamie Bowman. “We have so much – and such diverse – talent in our community. We want it all.”

The winner will be introduced to the community at a special event in April.  

“Just as writing is a social catalyst, a poet laureate can be seen as a community alchemist, divining the moments to lament and celebrate, using his or her words to glue people together in times of joy and sorrow,” says Linda Rogers, past poet laureate for Victoria and one of the judges that chose the inaugural CVPL, Kevin Flesher.

The position of Poet Laureate is seen as a cultural ambassador of the region, to stimulate interest and champion engagement in poetry and literature, with an emphasis on activism and connecting with other arts.

Help us find a new Poet Laureate!

This project is supported by: Cumberland Village Works, North Island College English Dept., Vancouver Island Regional Library, School District 71, Sure Copy and Comox Valley Arts. Interested sponsors may contact Comox Valley Arts. This is a excellent vehicle to associate your organization or business with literacy and the arts.

So what does a Poet Laureate do?

There isn’t a proscribed program or dictated outcomes, but here is a sample of what our Poet Laureates have achieved:

  • Organized and hosted many events and contests and poetry workshops
  • Bacon Slam poetry contest (x 2)
  • Poetry Nature walk for BC Naturalist Society
  • Poetry for Miner’s Memorial
  • 100,000 Poets For Peace events
  • Haiku Harvest
  • Haiku Night in Canada
  • Mother’s Day Ink
  • World Bad Poetry Day Competition
  • SD71 School  poetry contest and poetry book (x 2)
  • Haiku workshops at North Country Fair, Diversity festival, Quadrapalooza
  • Wrote and presented poems for special events including, BC Bike Race opening speech, Christmas tree lighting, Rotary installations, grand opening of Cumberland Disc Golf course
  • Published two books of poetry
  • Presented at North Island Writer’s Conference
  • Met with Canada’s Poet Laureate
  • Regular poetry column published in local paper
  • Poetry Pleasure Cruise to Denman and Hornby islands
  • Spouting poetry on request at many events and streetcorners.