Mary Ann Mulhern Completes Term as the City of Windsor’s Second Poet Laureate

On Monday, May 9, 2022, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac, and City Council took the opportunity to thank Mary Ann Mulhern for her time serving as the City of Windsor’s second Poet Laureate.

Mulhern was appointed to the role in April 2019, with the selection committee members saying they appreciated her poetic voice, respectable publication history, positive reputation, strong ability to tell Windsor’s story, and the connection and influence she had both within the city and in the broader literary arts community. As poet laureate, Mulhern set out to work closely with Poet Laureate Emeritus Marty Gervais, and the Youth Poet Laureate, while continuing to write and publish her own work commemorating events and celebrations in Windsor. She wanted to promote poetry and the arts, seeking to “make Windsor proud” while continuing to work with young writers to inspire and encourage them in their own artistic endeavours. In addition to applying for the role, Mulhern was nominated for the position by four members of the community.

During her term, Mulhern’s impressive list of initiatives and accomplishments included the following:

  • Representing Windsor in the annual National Poetry Month campaign
  • Publishing original work in three new publications through the program’s South Shore Collections Series, including Because We Have All Lived Here (2017), A Dance of Self-Isolation: Covid Poems from the Biggest Little City in Canada (2020), and Walk in the Woods: Portrait of the Ojibway Prairie Complex (2021)
  • Launching the House Calls initiatives to bring poetry to seniors’ homes
  • Co-hosting three Poetry at the Manor events, including two virtual editions
  • Reading at the opening of the Windsor Public Library’s John Muir Branch
  • Writing “Shovels in the Ground” and “WE Can’t Wait” to support the campaign to transform health care in Windsor-Essex and help secure funding for the new regional acute care hospital
  • Helping to facilitate the Windsor’s Resilient Voices initiative to place short, inspirational poems on Transit Windsor buses, in mass vaccination clinics, and at two Windsor Regional Hospital campuses to inspire the community and provide hope during the pandemic.
  • Writing and sharing over 120 original poems for social media pages for the City of Windsor, Museum Windsor, and Mayor Drew Dilkens, garnering well over 10,000 views from community members in Windsor-Essex County and beyond.
  • Participating in over 10 virtual or video poetry readings and presentations via Zoom, resulting in thousands of views.

Quotes:

“I have been so proud to be a ‘Poet of the Pandemic,’ and to have the opportunity to help create pandemic books! Alongside my colleagues in the Poet Laureate Program, I have made an effort to bring hope. I think it worked! The Poet Laureate is an ambassador for the City of Windsor, and its poets and literary artists. I’ve loved being Windsor’s Poet Laureate, and working with this team. What a team! What a time!”
- Mary Ann Mulhern, City of Windsor Poet Laureate (2019 to 2022)

“The City of Windsor extends sincere thanks to Mary Ann Mulhern for her passion, dedication and commitment to the Poet Laureate & Storytellers Program. She has served as a strong ambassador for poets and the literary arts in Windsor while helping to mentor other writers and finding innovative ways to connect with new audiences.”
- Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

“Mary Ann’s contributions and her steadfast belief in the power of words, poetry and stories to share a community’s history have helped to secure the program’s expansion and rebranding, paving the way for two storytellers to join us to represent the Indigenous and multicultural communities in Windsor. Mary Ann has accomplished all she set out to do, and much more. She leaves an indelible mark on this program.”
- Jo-Anne Gignac, Ward 6 Councillor

“Mary Ann’s term has been about connections made when we need them most. We have been lucky to have her as a guide over these last few years. She leaves a legacy of poetry that connects us strongly to the people and places around us.”
- Marty Gervais, City of Windsor Poet Laureate Emeritus

“As Windsor’s Poet Laureate, Mary Ann often wrote poetry in response to issues facing the community in real-time. She views the act of writing poetry as a relevant and important way to preserve and share a community’s history and identity. That is what shines through all of her work – and there has been a substantial amount of it – that she has created during her time as our laureate. Through her poems, particularly her pandemic poems, Mary Ann reflected on isolation, family, community successes and struggles, and the ability of the pandemic to make the smallest taken-for-granted-moments seem suddenly big, intricate, and so very important. She helped us see through the dark.”
- Christopher Lawrence Menard, City Cultural Development Coordinator

For further information, please visit the City of Windsor’s Poet Laureate & Storytellers Program page.

To learn more about arts, culture and heritage services at the City of Windsor, visit www.CityWindsor.ca or call 311.

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