Gananoque to appoint poet laureate

The position proposed by Coun. Dennis O’Connor will have a $500 annual honorarium attached to it, but not from the town. Instead the O’Connor Gallery has committed to put up the money.

“We’re looking for someone that lives in Gananoque and who has been published. It’s an honorific and it’s a way of showing that we do care about culture,” said O’Connor.

Residents are invited to submit nominations for a Poet Laureate by Feb. 19 for consideration by council at its meeting on Mar. 2. The successful candidate’s appointment will run until the end of council’s term – November 2022.

Although council members were mostly supportive, some had difficulty with the concept of a $500 honorarium, although none of them expressed any interest or appeared to be familiar with the terms of reference.

“I’m in favour of a having a poet laureate, but I don’t know that there needs to be a $500 honorarium,” said Coun. Adrian Haird.

“Having a laureate is a nice idea, but spending money on it, I don’t agree with that. Maybe we can just have a poetry context every year – I just don’t support the concept of funding it,” said Coun. Dave Osmond.

“Is this poet going to be any more work for our staff? Will there be anything for our staff to do or will it be on the poet laureate to organize themselves?” asked Coun. Mike Kench.

The terms of reference require the appointed poet to write one original poem that reflects some aspect of life in Gananoque every year of their tenure.

That original poem is to be made available to the town for printing in hard copy and electronic form, including on the town’s website, although the poet will retain all rights.

The laureate would also be required to give public readings of their poetry at least three times a year at town events such as Canada Day, or during national poetry month and any other function or event at council’s discretion; and serve as an advocate for literature and literacy in town and participate actively in the town’s literary life.

“I see there are a lot of people who don’t want to spend $500. So the O’Connor Gallery will donate the $500,” said O’Connor.



To be eligible for the position candidates must have a record of high achievement in poetry evidenced by peer and or public recognition; they must have at least one book of published poetry under their belt; they must live and or work in Gananoque; they cannot be an employee of the town and must be willing to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
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