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Ontario’s Poet Laureate Nominations – Now Open!

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July 6, 2020 - The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is inviting nominations for the province's first Poet Laureate.

The Poet Laureate of Ontario Act (In Memory of Gord Downie) was passed unanimously in the Legislature in December 2019. It honours the late former lead singer of popular Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, whose poetic lyrics touched the hearts of Canadians from coast to coast.

Upon appointment by the Legislature, the Poet Laureate will report to the Speaker of the Legislature as an officer of the Assembly for a two-year term. Responsibilities will include writing poetry, promoting art and literacy in the province, celebrating Ontario and its people and raising the profile of Ontario poets.

"For the first time in our history, we will be celebrating our literary arts by selecting an Ontario Poet Laureate," said the Legislature's Speaker Ted Arnott. "Poetry nourishes and inspires, and our poets speak to our hearts and souls. This initiative could not come at a better time."

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson called poetry one of the greatest of the Arts. "It motivates and it sustains us," he said. "Poetry is also practical. It teaches us while it touches our deepest emotions and feelings," he added.

Ontario's Poet Laureate will join counterparts in other jurisdictions, such as Canada's Parliament as well as municipalities across the province including Collingwood, Owen Sound, Barrie and Toronto.
The successful candidate must be a person whose primary residence is Ontario and who has published at least one volume of poetry within the last 10 years or must demonstrate that their body of work has brought honour to themselves and to Ontario.

For more information about nomination procedures and requirements, please visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario's Poet Laureate website: www.ola.org/en/poet-laureate

Applications for the position are being accepted through to September 15, 2020. Following the acceptance of nominations, a selection panel will prepare a short list of the nominees by December and announce a chosen nominee by February, 2021.


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