2017-2019 Poet Laureate Nominations & Applications now being accepted.
Comox Valley Arts (aka Comox Valley Community Arts Council) has begun the search for a Flesher’s successor, 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 CV Arts board member Jamie Bowman. “We have so much – and such diverse – talent in our community. We want it all.”
The winner will open for famed Canadian pop and jazz singer/songwriter Coco Love Alcorn, and then perform at the Comox Valley Arts 50th Anniversary celebrations April 1, plus be awarded a minimum $1000 honorarium to carry out Poet Laureate duties over the term.
“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 Flesher.
The position of Poet Laureate is as 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.
The Comox Valley Poet Laureate will create works during the year to celebrate or commemorate significant community events (i.e. Miners Memorial, Canada Day, etc.), and will serve as a touchstone for the mood of the community.
This is an honourary position, which receives a small stipend per year for performing these duties, as well as significant recognition throughout each year for the work and contribution a Poet Laureate will make to the literary fabric of our community.
Open to all creators of poetic or lyrical works who live and work in the Comox Valley (between Oyster River and Deep Bay), have resided here for at least two years and will continue to reside here during the two-year tenure.
Nominees/applicants can come from any form of verse, from classic, free-form, lyrics, rap or spoken word. Being published is not a requirement.
A short list of finalists will be interviewed by the jury, with a performance component, to select the person best able to represent our community poetically.
The jury for the inaugural position included:
Kevin Flesher - Current Poet Laureate for Comox Valley;
Anne Cumming - English Department Chair at North Island College;
Eric Ettinger - half of the rap duo Butterfinger Bombsquad and whose past group, Still-life Family, opened for Chali 2na, De La Soul and 2LiveCrew during their years of touring;
This project is supported by: Cumberland Village Works, North Island College English Dept., Vancouver Island Regional Library, School District 71 and Comox Valley Arts. Interested sponsors may contact Comox Valley Arts. This is a excellent vehicle for associating 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 inagural laureate 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
- Haiku Harvest
- Haiku Night in Canada
- 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
- regular poetry column published in local paper
- Poetry Pleasure Cruise to Denman and Hornby islands
- Spouting poetry on request at many events and streetcorners.
The 2015-2017 Poet Laureate was supported by: