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PoetLaureateLogoOn April 28th 2014 I was named Calgary’s Poet Laureate (following in the footsteps of Kris Demeanor).

On Monday April 25th 2016 I will hand that position over to the 2016-2018 Poet Laureate.

With the amazing support of Emiko Muraki, Christine Armstrong, Joni Carroll, Helen Moore-Parkhouse, Kaley Beisiegel, Pattti Pon and all the amazing folks at CADA I have used the last two years to perform, discuss and advocate for Calgary’s poetic community, promote literacy in the city and initiate new programs to support Calgarian arts.

Here’s a quick review of what i’ve been up as Poet Laureate:

I have conducted 77 readings (alongside almost 100 meetings & over 40 media appearances) in 5 countries — including talks at The University of Calgary, University of Alberta, York University, William Aberhart High School, Queen Elizabeth High School, Mount Royal University, Brock University, Lakehead University and Roehampton University and at public events in Lethbridge, Manchester, London, Oslo, Stockholm and Calgary. I was honoured to give keynote lectures at the Oslopoesifilmfestival (Oslo, Norway) and New Voices, Emerging Paths in Contemporary Canadian Writings (Canadian Literature Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB) and the convocation address at Alberta College of Art + Design.11221301_10153288031866346_3824064715146837533_n

 

1-15-2016 - WHERE NEXT- Poster FINAL SHMy students and colleagues recognized and awarded my teaching with the Alberta College of Art + Design Student Association Appreciation Award, two Alberta College of Art + Design Student Association Gracious Gratitude Awards and the inaugural Robert Kroetsch Teaching Innovation Award from the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP). I was thrilled to share with students at Mount Royal, ACAD and at Wordsworth Teen Summer Camp. At ACAD I co-ordinated and hosted The WHERE NEXT: CREATIVE WRITING, NARRATIVE, FILM AND CONTEMPORARY ART symposium.

i’ve been lucky to have work published dozens of magazines, journals and books in Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, Turkey, Norway, Sweden and France and work included in gallery exhibitions in Canada, Austria, Georgia, Germany, the Netherlands, England and the US. I co-curated, with Phillip Davenport, Total Recall, at the Bury Art Museum (Bury, UK). I also donated artwork to fundraising auctions for both HIV Calgary and The Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre (KOAC).

I have created hundreds of new works and am particularly proud of the poem i wrote as a commission for the Vimy Foundation in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge in 2017.

photoI was the first artist-in-residence in the Lightbox Studio in Calgary’s Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts (now Arts Commons) — thank you Natasha Jensen for all the organizational acumen. I was the first artist-in-residence in Calgary’s Lougheed House’s 124-year history. The residency culminated with a gala reading featuring Calgary literati.

Calgary Tower WordFest 01My work was  projected on the side of the Calgary Tower and posted on billboards on Calgary’s busiest freeways thanks to the initiatives of Calgary’s Wordfest.

Los Angeles-based press Les Figues published my latest volume of visual poetry, KERN, and the Manchester-based press If P then Q published my latest volume of criticism, The Unbearable Contact with poets, and for that i am incredibly grateful. The Calgary Renaissance, an anthology of risk-taking Calgarian poetry — co-edited with Ottawa’s rob mclennan — is forthcoming in 2016 (as are several other projects which i can’t announce quite yet).

WordPoweredArt-2014_instagramThrough No press I published 64 different editions of poetry and prose from international, national and local emerging and established writers. Each book was meant to help spread the word of risk-taking international writing. Thank you for trusting me with your work.

In December, 2014 I traveled to London with my family in order to defend my Phd dissertation in Creative Writing at Roehampton University under the supervision of Dr. Peter Jaeger and Mr. Jeff Hilson — both of whom have been exceptional teachers and mentors.

On May 11th of this year I will be named as the recipient of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Arts 1st Celebrated Alumni Award.

As Calgary’s Poet Laureate, I co-founded, with Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Chamber, the Artists in the Workplace initiative through which we pair businesses who are willing to donate studio and production space to Calgary’s artistic community.

In support of Helmets for Heroes, I designed Canadian National Luge Team athlete Arianne Jones’ helmetwhich she wore in gold-medal performances at the World Cup. The helmet will be auctioned for charity in mid-2016.

IMG_1793In conjunction with Calgary Reads, i provided the artwork for their new Little Free Library Passport supporting Calgarian literacy.

My work at Roehampton University — directly on the walls of the English department was the first UK public commission ever received by a Canadian poet.

I initiated the Twitter project The Calgary Alphabet in which i invited the citizens of Calgary to help create an alphabet of letters which reflect the city’s signage. I also created the #writtenrighthere initiative on twitter and, with Barrie, Ontario’s Poet Laureate Damian Lopes, created a National Poetry month challenge across Canada.

I worked with a fabulous team at Project Bookmark to try and make head-way in to Calgary’s community;

coverNot all of the projects i’ve undertaken worked out however. 2015 did bring some disappointing news. For my entire tenure as Poet Laureate I have been working with the Calgary Arts Development team and with representatives from the City of Calgary to create an initiative through which we would name Calgary alleys after prominent deceased Calgarian writers. With support from arts groups across Alberta, the Varsity Community Association and the Beltline Community Association (and many others) we proposed to name streets and pathways in the city after Nellie McClung and Robert Kroetsch (with expansion plans for further alleys named after W.O. Mitchell and Sheila Watson). Sadly –- despite wide-spread support from the community (and private funds to cover all potential expenses) and the City of Calgary Naming Committee –- the City of Calgary Priorities and Finance Committee did not share our enthusiasm. This was a project we’ve been deeply dedicated to for a number of years and it was crushing to see it not receive support. We may regroup …

None of this would have been possible without my incredible partner, Kristen, and my amazing daughter Maddie. My parents and in-laws have also been a steady voice of support and love; thank you.

1509803_10152809613381526_2794485390422773802_nIn so many ways I only excel because of the strength and support of my community of friends and colleagues especially Christian Bök, Sina Queyras, Darren Wershler, Kenneth Goldsmith, Ken Hunt, Tony Trehy, Jordan Scott, Greg Betts, Lori Emerson, Kit Dobson, Helen Hajnoczky, Richard Harrison and so many others. Thank you.

I’m by no means done and the opportunity to be Poet Laureate has already lead to a number of new projects and potential collaborations — I’m excited to see how these ideas will challenge both me and the arts community.

It has been an honour, thank you — I look forward to seeing what Calgary’s next Poet Laureate does with the position.

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I was approached a few months back to create a poem in response to The Vimy Foundation‘s replanting of oak trees at Vimy Ridge for the 100th anniversary of that First World War battle: “Quercus (for Guillaume Apollinaire)” is the result.

I arranged the names of every type of oak tree that grows in Canada and France in a column designed to evoke classical memorials and the trunks of grand oaks. Embedded within the column, quietly asserting a poetry within the trunks and branches, is a single quotation from Apollinaire’s famous 1st World War poem “Le Petit Auto” [“The Little Car”, 1914]. Apolllinaire’s calligrams were the precursor for the contemporary concrete poem and his work stands testament to the affect of the French avant-garde on contemporary poetics. and “Quercus” evokes his subtle arrangement of letters in tear drops and machinery. “Quercus” embeds Apollinaire’s “Nations hurled together so they / might learn to know one another” setting the line within the very trees and columns which stand testament to the lives lost. Apollinaire himself survived a head wound at the front in 1916, but died from the Spanish Flu two days before the armistice, Nov 9, 1918.Nations hurled together so they might learn to know one another

 

I am truly honoured to have received two “Gracious Gratitude Award” from the Alberta College of Art + Design Student Association (ACADSA). These are my fifth and sixth teaching awards in the last five years; my students make it amazing. Thank you.GG2016GG20162

PoetLaureateLogo To celebrate National Poetry Month and UNESCO World Poetry Day, each year municipalities across Canada are challenged to bring poetry into politics. One mayor leads this annual challenge by inviting a poet to read at a council meeting in March or April, and challenges mayors and councils across the nation to follow suit and join the celebration. Initiated by Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco in 2012, the Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge celebrates poetry, writing, small presses and the contribution of poets and all writers to the rich cultural life in our country. Last year the torch was passed from Regina to Calgary, and Mayor Nenshi’s first challenge was a huge success. With over seventy participants, the 2015 challenge was our largest yet—but we hope for even more in 2016!

As Calgary’s Poet Laureate, I have a challenge for writers and readers across Canada.

I ask that writers and readers across Canada explore how literature has reflected and created their own communities … find spaces of literary importance (homes where writers once lived, areas authors have written about, moments of historic literary import, etc), photograph those spaces and post on twitter with a brief description and the hashtag #writtenrighthere

Check out the writtenrighthere blog!

Help document how Canadian literature reflects and affects how we understand our communities and our place.

It could be an intersection or park named in a book, it could be a mountain range celebrated in a poem, it could be the former home of a beloved poet or the location of a Canadian press; it could be a park named after your favourite literary figure or a surprising connection with how Canadian literature has developed just down the street …

How have the spaces of your community shaped (or been shaped by) literature? Where do you see the spaces that have created Canadian Literature in your community?

#writtenrighthere celebrates literary history … and how writing comes from community.

 

 

 

IMG_1788IMG_1793IMG_1792IMG_1776Today I was honoured to be part of the unveiling of the new helmets for the Canadian National Luge Team! I have been lucky to work – as part of Helmets for Heroes – with Arianne Jones and her teammates on the Canadian National Luge Team, alongside Cassandra (age 11) to design Arianne a helmet that she can use at the World Cup and in competition through-out 2015-2016!

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Media Coverage:

#PutALidOnIt – 21st Century Reading

Arianne Jones Commercial in support of Helmets for HeroesCWe0i8LXIAAY8_z_large

“Calgary kids, artists connect with Canadian luge team to create unique helmets” – Metro News Calgary

“Canada’s lugers eager for home track advantage” – CBC Calgary

“Canada’s lugers look for home-track magic again in Calgary World Cup” – Calgary Herald

“Olympic Luge Athletes Encourage Canadians to ‘Put a Lid on it'” – Luge Canada

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Canadian Luge Team and Helmets for Heroes Launch Brain Injury Awareness Campaign

It may be the most talked about issue in elite sport these days. But brain injuries extend far beyond high-performance athletes.

WireService.ca Media Release (12/14/2015) Calgary, AB – That is why Canada’s luge athletes have teamed up with Helmets for Heroes to launch a brain injury awareness campaign December 15 while readying themselves to host the best sliding sport athletes on the planet for the 2015 Viessmann Luge World Cup in Calgary. The media conference will be held in the Ice House at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park.

The seven members of the national luge squad will address the media with a group of inspiring young children from the Calgary community who have suffered brain injuries along with a group of artists who have helped specially-design the team’s helmets this year that will be a constant reminder of the importance of helmet use when playing.

Partnering with Helmets for Heroes – a powerful initiative that builds tight bonds with athletes and the community while sharing their heartfelt stories through sporting helmets – the team will wear the helmets for the entire season to reinforce the importance of getting fitted and wearing helmets while playing.

As part of the season-long initiative, the team will also provide details around a series of video vignettes that will be released throughout the winter season stressing the importance of wearing proper helmets and making smart decisions to reduce the risk of brain injuries.

Who: Child Artists who have Suffered Brain Injuries

Canadian Luge Team
Dr. Brian Benson – CMO & Director, Sport Medicine
Brad Spence – Two-Time Olympian, Alpine Skiing, founder of Helmets for Heroes
Local Artists involved with the campaign

Where: Ice House – Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park

When: Tuesday, December 15 – 12 noon

IMG_1751 IMG_1766 IMG_1773 IMG_1777 IMG_1779*****

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Chris Dornan
Media and Public Relations
Canadian Luge Association
T: 403-620-8731

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I’ve just submitted my helmet design for Helmets for Heroes – to be worn by Canadian National Luge Team member Arianne Jones … here’s a sneak peak of the work in progress – the finished helmet will be revealed on December 15th!

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When Brad Spence, founder of Helmets for Heroes, competed at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, he was wearing a hand painted helmet by Gillian O’Blenes-Kaufman, a young patient at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. During a hospital visit a few months prior, Brad had learned of Gillian’s incredible artistic talents and wanted to bring her on his journey to Sochi. He did so by having her design and paint his Olympic helmet.

Seeing the impact that his helmet had not only on her, but also on the entire community, Brad wanted to find a way to bring the athletic and artistic worlds together, to support and help children battling adversity cope and heal. What evolved was Helmets for Heroes, an initiative aimed at doing just this. For each project, an athlete, an artist, and a child battling adversity are connected to collaborate on a helmet design that will be worn in competition by the athlete. Art not only helps children battling adversity express themselves, it improves their mood, decreases pain levels, and assists in the healing process. After completion of the projects, the helmets are auctioned off, with proceeds being donated to the charity of the child’s choice. To date, Helmets for Heroes has facilitated five very unique projects, raising more than $15,000 for charity.

I have been lucky to work with Arianne Jones and her teammates on the Canadian National Luge Team, alongside Cassandra (age 11) to design Arianne a helmet that she can use at the World Cup and in competition through-out 2015-2016!

Arianne Jones, me, Brad Spence and Cassandra

Arianne Jones, me, Brad Spence and Cassandra

 

UPDATE: Local media has been excited by our new initiative!:

“Program aims to transform empty office space into creative places”: Calgary Herald

“Calgary businesses to let artists use empty space”: Metro Calgary

“Calgary’s high office vacancy rate could benefit artists in need of space”: CBC Calgary News

“Artists in Workplace”: CBC Calgary Eyeopener [Radio]

“Calgary businesses encouraged to share office space with artists”: Metro Calgary

“Sky-high vacancy rates challenge remaining downtown businesses”: Global TV Calgary

the press release from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce

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Participating businesses to date:

Calgary Association of Self Help

Roots2STEM Admin & Creation Space

York Reality (3 locations)

Vintri Technologies

Sandler Training

The Beach

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ENROLL HERE

It’s no secret that challenging economic times are yielding a surplus of office / business space in our city. Instead of letting these spaces sit vacant, they instead could be turned into an opportunity to invest in Calgary’s cultural future that also offsets some expenses at the same time.

The Calgary Chamber in partnership with Calgary Arts Development and Calgary’s Poet Laureate, Derek Beaulieu, is excited to announce the launch of a new initiative called Artists in the Workplace, a program that connects businesses with a surplus of space with artists and art organizations who are looking for space to work.

Please see below or the full release – For additional comments or to schedule an interview, please contact Scott Crockatt at media@calgarychamber.com or 403 681 5529.

derek beaulieu
Calgary Poet Laureate 2014-2016
derek@housepress.ca

RELEASE - Artists in the workplace 10112015_Page_1RELEASE - Artists in the workplace 10112015_Page_2

Arianne Jones, me, Brad Spence and Cassandra

Arianne Jones, me, Brad Spence and Cassandra

When Brad Spence, founder of Helmets for Heroes, competed at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, he was wearing a hand painted helmet by Gillian O’Blenes-Kaufman, a young patient at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. During a hospital visit a few months prior, Brad had learned of Gillian’s incredible artistic talents and wanted to bring her on his journey to Sochi. He did so by having her design and paint his Olympic helmet.

Seeing the impact that his helmet had not only on her, but also on the entire community, Brad wanted to find a way to bring the athletic and artistic worlds together, to support and help children battling adversity cope and heal. What evolved was Helmets for Heroes, an initiative aimed at doing just this. For each project, an athlete, an artist, and a child battling adversity are connected to collaborate on a helmet design that will be worn in competition by the athlete. Art not only helps children battling adversity express themselves, it improves their mood, decreases pain levels, and assists in the healing process. After completion of the projects, the helmets are auctioned off, with proceeds being donated to the charity of the child’s choice. To date, Helmets for Heroes has facilitated five very unique projects, raising more than $15,000 for charity.

I’m proud to announce that I’m working with Arianne Jones and her teammates on the Canadian National Luge Team, alongside Cassandra (age 11) to design Arianne a helmet that she can use at the World Cup and in competition through-out 2015-2016!

Watch this space for updates and news … and support Helmets for Heroes!

IMG_1200 IMG_1201 IMG_1202 IMG_1203No Press is proud to announce the publication of

20 LINES by Matt Madden

Published in a limited edition of 40 copies (only 20 of which are for sale from the press), 20 LINES is available for $8.00 including domestic postage (+ $2 non-Canadian postage). To order please email derek beaulieu.

 

 

Madden has this to say about 20 LINES:

I recently finished a one-year drawing project called “20 Lines”

The initial inspiration was a prose book by the American Oulipo author Harry Mathews called 20 Lines a Day, which is a partial document of a period where he wrote 20 lines of prose every morning he was at his desk as a warm-up exercise. He was inspired by a quote by Stendhal to the effect of “20 lines a day, genius or not”. He took that notion literally in a somewhat wry way and I did the same kind of thing: well, 20 drawn lines, how is that so different from 20 lines of writing? (It’s faster for one thing, most of the time.)

I took it on once we moved to France because one of my goals here is to work on my drawing, which lags behind my writing and my structural/linguistic thinking about comics. My goal was to concentrate on the most basic elements of drawing–lines on a ground–to reflect on how lines fill space, how they fit together. Maybe not so much “reflect” as simply to put my drawing hand, my brain, and my eyes to work to see what would come out of it. How all that will translate back into my comics I don’t really know, but I see it as part of a process of taking more conscious control of my drawing both at a physical as well as conceptual level.

Matt Madden is a cartoonist who has taught at the School of Visual Arts and in workshops around the world. His work includes 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), a collection of his comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style; a translation from the French of Aristophane’s The Zabîme Sisters (First Second); and Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics, (First Second), a pair of comics textbooks written in collaboration with his wife, Jessica Abel. For six years the couple were also series editors for The Best American Comics from Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt. He is currently on an extended residency at La Maison des Auteurs in Angoulême, France.

Pizza Poems for Reading Town 1[2]Calgary Reads, in an effort to promote literacy and reading, recently included local poems in every pizza ordered from Inglewood Pizza and Without Papers. Here is my inclusion in the series…