Disclaimer: This is an attempt at an objective overview of whom to choose for Kingston Poet Laureate. Though a sometime poet, I am not a candidate, being primarily a writer of Creative Non-fiction.
NOTE- EXPECTING CORRECTIONS/UPDATES This site will be CONSTANTLY UPDATED as information flows in. Some of these poets may be up for Putlizers. Write & say so. No intention of slighting ANYONE, okay?? (Perhaps I’ll maintain this area of my blog after we have our laureate, just in terms of ongoing good poems.)
CRITERIA – First, goes without saying, they need to be permanent IN KINGSTON. Not occasional visitors trailing clouds of glory from their REAL homebase. (This has been in contention lately but we need to limit this firmly to more than HALF a poet, eh?)
Then the important questions (Though no poet will have them all): Is the poet: an ongoing mentor? Regularly billets? Has more than one non-self-published book of poetry? Won grants, awards, honours? appointments? Paid paid poetry dues: (membership in League of Poets, starting magazine or reading series, volunteered for national poetry week, etc?) Known particularly for Poetry rather than other arts areas?
Will their election help heal the illusion/delusion/(some say reality) that poetry lives only at the university? Walt Whitman helped disperse that in his lifetime but not in Kingston. For a long while, readings were held ONLY at Queens. (the academic paradigm?) The appointment of a working poet, unaffliliated, would go a long way towards changing that unfortunate perception.
Poetry these days is a hard sell. If you truly hunger after precise, moving use of language, there’s a lot to choose from in Kingston. Some good poets are also better at the marketing and promoting side.
Others write, publish and slough through the poetry trenches, mentoring, supporting and welcoming new poets to the ranks while remaining relatively unknown to the population at large.
Poet Laureate selection time should be an opportunity to recognize the hard work of those behind the scenes as well as selecting one of them to recognize the importance of poetry to this community.
While there’s still time, let me suggest some names that might otherwise be overlooked, along with what little I know about each of them. Of course I’ll miss a lot, those writing and publishing quietly, likely for many years and fully as deserving. Remind me. I have an aging memory.
While Gender MUST NOT enter into the selection of the Laureate, we know – There Are More Women Poets But Men Tend To Publish More Easily. And Finally: It Never Hurts To Have Queen’s In Your Corner.
Obvious Candidates: (No One Would Be Surprised If They Got It: Prominence, Position, Publications, Profile. The Laureate will probably come from here. Short List:
Helen Humphrys – Honours, Awards. Publications. Canada Council. Former Poet in Residence appointment Queen’s.
Steve Heighton-Honours. Awards. Canada Council. former Poet In Residence positions
Elizabeth Greene – Publications. Works for Poetry. Former Poetry Prof some student mentoring Former Queens.
Eric Folsom-Former poetry publisher/editor, (Next Exit Quarterly), former League of Poets Rep, CBC poetry shortlist, Many publications/anthologies/chapbooks, Poetry Prof, (St Lawrence & School system), Workshops, frequent reader/organizer/poetry promoter. 30 yr history as billeter/feeder/driver of out of town poets, down on their luck poets
Patience Wheatley Publications. Canada Council. League of Poets.
Carolyn Smart– Publications.Plays. Poetry Prof. Canada Council Poet? Queen’s.
Michael Hurley– Performer/Reader. Many publications. Canada Council Poet? Poetry Prof (RMC) Mentor Royal Military College English Prof
Joanne Page – 3 books of poetry, finalist for Trillium Award, anthologies, workshops, teaching.
Mary Cameron Publications, League of Poets,
Others who MUST be considered:
P.Sri Publications/Translations. RMC Professor
Tom Vincent Publications. RMC Professor?
Laurie Lewis – Publisher. Years on Poetry Scene. League of Poets, Probably Canada Council Poet. Publications.
David Daniel Moses – Poet/Playwright. Publications. Queen’s. Better known outside town. Queen’s.
Diane Dawber– first poet to establish/host monthly reading series in town, unconnected with Queen’s, (Poetry & Company). 7 books of poetry. Billets & hosts poets on regular basis. Countless school workshops. Canada Council Poet. League of Poets.
Bruce Kaufman- started & hosts monthly reading series (Artel Reading Series). Published?
Bob MacKenzie – started/hosted 2 poetry reading series (Chamolean Nation & Gallery Series ). 45 yr writing career. OAC grant. Combines poetry with music & visual art. League of Poets. Press Published?
Pat Andruchuck-Honours. lengthy publishing record. Awards.Better known outside Kingston. Canada Council Reader
Sister Peggy Flanagan – Uplifting poems part of community activism
Jennifer Londry– Moving, unusual writing. Frequent reader. Publications.
Jason Heroux- Witty stuff. Regular publications. Canada Council Poet.
Doug Roy-Publications. Inspires/edits anthologies. poetry group leader, 2 books, League of Poets member
Bonita Summers– press published? Active in poetry scene.
Hugh Barclay– Beautiful presentations. Work behind the scenes. press published?
Erin Foley – Poetry promos. Press published?
Mary Ellen Csamer – League of Poets including Ontario rep. Publications. Long history of work
Leah Browning, Publications, readings, League of Poets
Cory Mayhew, Several anthologies. Press published?
Jan Allen – Writer, Visual Artist, Curator, Poet. Publications
Rielly Stares – anthologies, readings. Press published?
Others – (some may be Ottawa – please let me know): Armand Ruffo, Shane Rhodes, Terry Ann Carter, Ronnie Brown, Nicola Vulpe, Colin Morton, Blaine Marchand, Anne Le Dressary, John Rivers and Robert Colman.