PhD student named Calgary’s Poet Laureate

English and Creative Writing PhD student derek beaulieu has been named Calgary’s Poet Laureate and celebrated his appointment by projecting his poem, Prose of the Trans-Canada, on the Calgary Tower.

Posted: 3 June 2014

image for news story PhD student named Calgary’s Poet Laureate
English and Creative Writing PhD student and Calgary’s Poet Laureate, derek beaulieu

Calgary City Council, Canada established the Poet Laureate position two years ago to promote the arts in the city and to recognise established ambassadorial practitioners. Poet Laureate is a two year position and is honorific and ambassadorial. Nominations were made through an open call and vetted by a panel of arts workers, city councillors and members of the literary community. The panel unanimously appointed derek as Calgary’s second Poet Laureate. His predecessor is poet Kris Demeanor.

derek is the author of eight books and has been involved in Calgary’s literary community for 18 years, working as publish and editor of housepress and No Press, along with serving as editor of several magazines, including filling Station, dANDelion and Speechless. derek began his PhD at Roehampton in October 2013 under the supervision of Prof Peter Jaeger and Jeff Hilson.

He will receive $10,000 a year from 2014-16, which is funded by six Calgary Poet Laureate Ambassadors – The Calgary Foundation, the Calgary Chamber, First Calgary Financial, First Energy Capital, Transcanada, and one anonymous donor.

Derek spoke to the Calgary Sun newspaper and said: “I think it’s important for this position to not only be a poet and somebody who writes around the city or to the city, but also somebody who can facilitate conversations around writing, around literacy and around poetry.”

Studying at Roehampton also made an impact on his work as he explained: “First and foremost, I was very excited to work under the supervision of Prof Peter Jaeger and Jeff Hilson in the Department of English and Creative Writing. They are both internationally recognised poets with practices dedicated to exploration and innovation. I am thrilled that they have seen me through the process of crafting my PhD dissertation with insight and rigorous expectation. Being a student at Roehampton continues to be extremely rewarding and challenging.” He added of his relationship to poetry: “I advocate for a poetry that can operate in non-poetic space. I think that if poetry is to be contemporary it needs to work like corporate logos, wayfinding signage and slogans... If poetry is going to reclaim even a shred of relevancy for a contemporary audience then poets must become competitive for readership.”

Read the Calgary Sun for the story http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/04/28/calgarys-new-poet-laureate-derek-beaulieu-introduced

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