City of Windsor Poets Laureate and Storytellers Bringing Poetry to the Community with 2024 Windsor Voices Initiative

The City of Windsor’s Poet Laureate & Storytellers team are planning to bring poetry to the community in an innovative way early next year.

“Windsor’s Voices” is an initiative to celebrate National Poetry Month by placing short, six-to-ten-line inspirational poems and stories on television screens and walls in select City-owned facilities across the community, on keepsake bookmarks, and as part of an online zine beginning in April 2024.

Submission Period:

From December 18, 2023, to February 16, 2024, interested Windsor poets, storytellers, writers and photographers of all ages, including youth (14 to 24 years old), are encouraged to submit original poems, stories or photos on one of two themes:

  • Theme # 1: Contributors are asked to share what Windsor means to them. From neighbourhoods to events, cultural traditions to important landmarks, places to people, experiences to thoughts and inspirations, contributions will reflect on what makes Windsor special.
  • Theme # 2: Contributors are asked to reflect on the theme of “weather,” which is the League of Canadian Poets’ 2024 theme for National Poetry Month. The organization describes the theme as follows: “Through sun, snow, rain, wind, fog, and many other iterations, we find the captivating presence of weather. With poetic flair, weather dictates the rhythms of our lives from coast to coast. Delve into the experiences, feelings, and inspiration that weather offers – whether the serenity of a snowfall, exhilaration of a summer downpour, or the familiar whispers of a gentle breeze.”

Submission Requirement:

Send an email to (subject line: Windsor's Voices Initiative) as follows:

  • Let us know the following in the body of your email:
    • Full name
    • Full mailing address
    • Whether you are submitting a poem, story or photograph
    • Which theme your work connects with from the two theme options listed above
  • Attach your six-to-ten-line poem, six-to-ten-line short story, or photograph.
  • You will hear from a program representative in February or March 2024.

The City’s Poet Laureate & Storytellers team will evaluate all submissions, working together to select the poems, stories and photos that will be displayed throughout the community. The team includes Poet Laureate Emeritus Marty Gervais, Poet Laureate Peter Hrastovec, Youth Poet Laureate Chidera Ikewibe, Multicultural Community Storyteller Teajai Travis, and Indigenous Storyteller Theresa Sims.

In 2021/2022, a similar initiative focused on the theme of “resilience” saw poems printed and displayed in City facilities, mass vaccination sites, and hospital sites across the community to bring messages of hope during the pandemic.


“It’s great to see this new initiative come forward from our poets laureate and storytellers. This will once again get poetry and stories out into the community while showcasing unique voices and perspectives that help to build and sustain a welcoming, diverse, inclusive and creative Windsor for all.”
- Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

“Everybody has a story to tell, and yours is unique. Tell it in your own words, put your own spin on it, make it come alive in a way that will melt the hearts of everyone who is willing to listen. You have that magic!” - Marty Gervais, Windsor’s Poet Laureate Emeritus

“Upon hearing Windsor’s many distinct and varied ‘voices’ over the years, I have come to learn that there is a certain harmony and pitch that is recognizable, a joyful rhythm at play, a uniquely innovative tone that is remarkably our own. As we continue to find new ways to ‘tell our stories,’ we welcome fresh voices to align with some of our more recognizable talents. Together we will work in accord to create something original, something that will make us proud.” - Peter Hrastovec, Windsor’s Poet Laureate

“Windsor residents will have the chance to show glimpses into their daily lives through the Windsor's Voices project. I hope to see the city through the eyes of others, grasp new perspectives on the city – from the newest and youngest citizens, to the oldest.” - Chidera Ikewibe, Windsor’s Youth Poet Laureate

“Through the Windsor's Voices project, the community will have the opportunity to centre their voice and experience as Windsorites. I hope we receive neighbourhood stories that reflect on everyday relationships and community traditions that span generations. As a kid growing up in Sandwich Town, I remember summer cookouts. The neighbourhood would gather in someone’s backyard and party noon to night. Back then, the adults were your aunts and uncles, your friends were your cousins, and the village was raised by everyone.” - Teajai Travis, Multicultural Community Storyteller for the City of Windsor

Through this public initiative, and the public presentation of the selected poems, stories and photographs celebrating Windsor, the team is taking the opportunity to deliver on the goals of the City of Windsor’s program, which include promoting poetry and storytelling to a wide and appreciative audience while strengthening the public’s relationship to poetry, storytelling, and the creative arts. In addition to publication of the works online, and public presentation across the community, the City will also provide certificates of recognition to those whose work is selected for the project.

Submission Examples:

Here, on this south shore,
stories were told,
poignant forest fables,
wonder-moon myths,
the generations reverent,
their gratitude
carved into ritual,
embedded in their soul.

By Peter Hrastovec, Poet Laureate

You can get lost in the maze of alleyways that run behind the huddle of neighborhood homes, especially when the fog rolls in like a slumbering ghost that dares you to wake it. Keep walking, it’ll say. Keep silent, if you may. Keep moving till you find your way.

By Marty Gervais, Poet Laureate Emeritus

511 Brock Street: The Red Brick House

The red brick house
had a dirt floor with a purple hue
that held a musty scent of secrets
bootlegged in its warped spin.
Moonshine bodies kept still
the breadth of runaway fools
Who spilled wishes upon
a river that never sleeps and
is hard to forget.

By Teajai Travis, Multicultural Community Storyteller

Emotional landmarks come with the changing tide — confuse the unassumed. Far off storms make waves that ripple at my shoreline. Sightlines are obscured by the amber waves of the never-setting sun. Headlines call to excuse the execution … of trees. The stumps still stand, roots refrain rotting into ephemera. The burning once trees howl and snap on their should be pyres. Their olive branches extended ablaze then, simmer into white smoke. The downpour storm carries vestiges from the river out to the sea, to the banks of bombardment at my shore: oranges, watermelons, olives, poppies, fishnets without fishermen, while keys and house debris — slowly sink to the bottom. If a storm is not reported by the 6 o’clock news — did it ever really happen at all?

By Chidera Ikewibe, Youth Poet Laureate