Regina Mayor challenging Canadian cities to recognize World Poetry Day
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Mayor Michael Fougere is challenging 85 city mayors from across Canada to feature poetry in an upcoming council meeting.
The Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge gets local poets to perform an original piece at either a March or April city meeting in recognition of UNESCO’s World Poetry Day (March 21) and National Poetry Month (April).
“We use our time in front of our council meeting to honour people who have done interesting things in life…. this is one way to showcase part of our arts and culture community before council,” said Fougere.
The idea was brought to Regina’s city council by local poet Bruce Rice and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild (SWG), both of whom along with the League of Canadian Poets organize the events.
“The arts are very important to everybody’s lives and normally wouldn’t see politics and poetry in one shot,” said Tracy Hamon, program manager at SWG.
Last year’s inaugural event saw 30 cities taking part, from Victoria to Toronto to Fredericton.
“I’ve been talking with poet laureates across the country about it this year and they are all pretty excited about it,” said Rice, who spearheaded the idea in January 2012.
Fougere sent letters to mayors across the country in early February and says it takes a while for ideas to be approved by councils. The organizers have already heard back from Jasper, AB, Halifax, N.S. and Guelph, ONT. Regina will host its poetry reading on April 8.
2012 city participants:
- B.C.: Nelson, Currey, Victoria, Whistler
- Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Jasper, Medicine Hat, Wainwright
- Saskatchewan: Creighton, La Ronge, Lloydminster, Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Prince Albert, Maidstone
- Manitoba: Brandon
- Ontario: Brantford, Cobourg, Guelph, Kitchner, London, Owen Sound, Toronto, Waterloo, Windsor
- New Brunswick: Fredericton
- Newfoundland: Corner Brook