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Vancouver's Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate 2014-2017 Rachel Rose
Photograph by Ayelet Tsabari

The Poet Laureate is an honorary position that was established by City Council in December 2006 to honour and celebrate the contribution of literature and poetry to life in Vancouver. The Laureate has a flexible term of two to three years.

The Poet Laureate Program is a partnership of the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Public Library, and Vancouver Writers Fest.

The position is funded by a generous endowment established by Dr. Yosef Wosk, OBC, in 2006.

Rachel Rose, 2014-2017 Poet Laureate

Rachel Rose has won national awards for her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including a 2014 Pushcart Prize. She has published poems, short stories, and essays in Canada, the US, New Zealand, and Japan.

Her most recent collection, Song and Spectacle, won the 2013 Audre Lorde Poetry Prize in the US and the Pat Lowther Award in Canada.

In 2011, Rachel and composer Leslie Uyeda were commissioned by the Queer Arts Festival to write the libretto for Canada’s first lesbian opera, When The Sun Comes Out, which premiered in August 2013 in Vancouver and in Toronto in June 2014. She is currently writing a book about police dogs.

As Poet Laureate

In a city as diverse as Vancouver, there are few subjects that engage us all. But all of us break bread together, or cook beans, or fry noodles. All of us carry memories of those foods that taste like home, whether it is the activist challenging the cruelties of conventional farming, the exile remembering the waft of spices on lost streets, or the child writing about the sockeye salmon she buys at Granville Island.

Poetry inspired by food invites poets to write provocative work about the environment, class, immigration, and occupation, but it also allows us to celebrate our city's strengths in a way that brings us together.

As Poet Laureate, Rachel will connect established and emerging Vancouver poets with chefs, urban farmers, food bank workers, dumpling makers, beekeepers, and other locals engaged in nourishing our citizens. This feast of homegrown talent will culminate in a book profiling the best of these collaborations. Rachel looks forward to welcoming everyone to the table.

A message from the Poet Laureate Partners

The Poet Laureate Partners – the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library, and Vancouver Writers Fest – welcome Rachel to the position.

At the same time, the partners extend their gratitude to Rachel’s predecessor, Evelyn Lau, for her service as Poet Laureate. Evelyn brought poetry into the public realm through an expanded Poetry in Transit Program and for three years provided manuscript consultations with emerging poets.

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Past poets laureate