Fountain pen and a notebook

Wherefore art thou, Vancouver’s next Poet Laureate?

June 23 2021 –

The City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library (VPL), and the Vancouver Writers Fest are excited to launch the search for Vancouver’s next Poet Laureate, for which nominations are now open.

The Poet Laureate, or ‘the people’s poet,’ holds an important role in raising poetry’s visibility in Vancouver and creating a unique literary project that engages our diverse communities. The Poet Laureate will also present or perform at City-led or partnered events and community public poetry functions throughout their two year term, beginning in 2021.

Vancouver-based poets and poets from xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-waututh) Nations are eligible for nomination. Nominees should have a notable body of work, and be recognized for their contributions to poetry and Vancouver’s literary life.

The Poet laureate will receive a $7,500 stipend per year, and additional project funds of $2,500 per year are available to support laureate activities.

Nominations may be submitted by a peer, or directly by interested candidates. The deadline for nominations is August 11, 2021. 

View the call for nominations

We join the VPL and the Vancouver Writers Fest in expressing gratitude to Christie Lee Charles for her service as the Poet Laureate from 2018 to 2020 and for her contributions to the city's literary life.

Previous Poet Laureates and their projects

  • Christie Lee Charles (2018 to 2020) presented and performed at several City and community events. 
  • Rachel Rose (2014 to 2017) edited a community-engaged poetry anthology, Sustenance, that connected the city’s food, newcomer, and refugee communities.
  • Evelyn Lau (2011 to 2014) held manuscript consultations with emerging poets.
  • Brad Cran (2009 to 2011) organized the Vancouver 125 Poetry Conference.  
  • George McWhirter (2007 to 2009) edited the anthology A Verse Map of Vancouver.

Find more information about previous Poet Laureates and complete details about the nomination process.

The Poet Laureate Program was established by City Council in December 2006 and is funded through a generous endowment from Dr. Yosef Wosk, OBC.