(Calgary AB) – Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Poet Laureate Selection Committee are pleased to announce the appointment of derek beaulieu as the 2014-16 Calgary Poet Laureate. The position was formally announced in Council Chambers at Calgary City Hall this morning, with outgoing laureate Kris Demeanor speaking about his experience as Poet Laureate. Demeanor also presented his legacy anthology, The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual, to city councillors, and youth poet Emily Xu, who contributed to the volume, performed some of her poetry.
To celebrate beaulieu’s appointment, his concrete poem “Prose of the Trans-Canada” will be projected onto the Calgary Tower during the evenings of April 28 and 29. The 20-metre projection was adapted into an “illuminated light sculpture” by Wordfest in 2011.
A longtime resident of Calgary, beaulieu is the author of eight books of poetry, three volumes of fiction and one volume of literary criticism. For 17 years he has been developing poetic communities; he has mentored and promoted young and established writers as publisher/editor of housepress and No Press, and as a former editor of Calgarian magazines filling Station, dANDelion and Speechless. beaulieu has taught students from grade school to the post-graduate level and has won awards for his current teaching at the Alberta College of Art + Design. In 2013 Wilfrid Laurier University Press published Please, no more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu. He has performed and discussed poetry in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, the UK and across North America. beaulieu’s poetry is internationally renowned as challenging, generative and dedicated to conversation.
As Calgary Poet Laureate, beaulieu will serve as an artistic ambassador for the citizens of Calgary from 2014-2016. A $10,000 honorarium is paid per year for the position, funded by six Calgary Poet Laureate Ambassadors (The Calgary Foundation, the Calgary Chamber, First Calgary Financial, FirstEnergy Capital, Transcanada and one anonymous donor).
“Calgary is world-renowned for having a thriving literary community and history. I am proud to be the the 2014-2016 Poet Laureate and to represent our city locally, nationally and internationally,” says derek beaulieu. “Poetry is the active, thoughtful engagement of language to describe and respond to our experience — I look forward to working with Calgary’s literary communities to share that engagement.”
“The enthusiasm we’ve seen for the Calgary Poet Laureate has been astonishing, from the support of Calgary’s private sector to the widespread interest in the capacity for poetry to inspire and build community,“ says Patti Pon, President & CEO of Calgary Arts Development. “On behalf of Calgary Arts Development and the citizens of Calgary, I would like to thank Kris for his service to the city during his time as Calgary Poet Laureate, and welcome derek beaulieu to the role. I look forward to witnessing how derek’s artistry will enrich our civic landscape over the next two years.”
A celebration to welcome the new Poet Laureate called “Parting Words/Starting Words” will be held at 7:00pm on April 29 at TELUS Spark (220 St. George’s Dr. NE). The event will feature presentations from both outgoing Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor as well as derek beaulieu, as well as other performers that will highlight the diversity within Calgary’s poetic community. Tickets are free and be reserved at YYCPoet.Eventbrite.com.
Photos are available at gallery.calgaryartsdevelopment.com (please note photo credits).