Poet Laureate Program

Left to Right: Samantha Badaoa (Youth Poet Laureate), Marty Gervais (Poet Laureate Emeritus), Mary Ann Mulhern (Poet Laureate)
The City of Windsor's poet laureate program aims to promote poetry to a wide and appreciative audience, while strengthening the public's relationship to literature. The program helps celebrate poetry, writing and the contribution of poets to the cultural life of our community.

City of Windsor Poets Laureate 

City of Windsor Youth Poets Laureate


Public Call for Next Youth Poet Laureate (2021-2023)

The City of Windsor is calling for applications or nominations for the city’s next youth poet laureate. Windsor’s poet laureate program is a vital piece of the local creative community. Since 2011, the program has helped develop and cultivate an engaged, all-ages local audience that appreciates and responds to the literary arts. The program aims to promote poetry to a wide and appreciative audience while strengthening the public’s relationship to literature by celebrating poetry, writing and the contribution of poets to the cultural life of our diverse community. Windsor has set an example for other Canadian communities for what is possible through a responsive and interactive poet laureate program that truly engages a community while allowing the City to help capture, preserve and share Windsor’s unique stories.

The city’s current youth poet laureate, Samantha Badaoa, will reach the end of her term in 2021. Upon her appointment, the selection committee noted her local accomplishments, tremendous contributions to the spoken word scene and strong female voice. During her time as Windsor’s inaugural youth poet laureate, Badaoa achieved great success and impact. Most notably, she published her first collection of poetry, So am I, with Black Moss Press and under the mentorship of the city’s poet laureate emeritus, Marty Gervais. She was a featured poet in the 2020 virtual edition of Poetry at the Manor. Her works were published online to help inspire residents throughout National Poetry Month in April 2020 and through the remainder of the year. She participated in the multi-media Scattered Ecstasies event, writing a poem based on a quote from Pablo Neruda which then inspired a painting by a local artist. She has created a writing and poetry mentoring series with weekly programming for youth and has participated in numerous public poetry readings since being appointed to the role. Badaoa collaborated with Street Help to perform poetry at a homelessness fundraiser and facilitated the Poetry of the Body workshop in collaboration with Gertrude’s Writing Room. Badaoa has two poems appearing in an upcoming collection of poetry written during the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

“My time as Windsor’s inaugural youth poet laureate has been one of extreme growth,” said Badaoa. “Through this program I have been able to explore the boundaries of poetry and realize its ongoing importance to the health of our city. The connections I have made during these last two years and the work that has come from the support of the arts community in Windsor are truly indescribable. More importantly, I have been able to witness firsthand the talent and potential that the youth in our city possess—their resilience and courage is a testament to us all. I cannot wait to see how our arts community progresses under their leadership. Thank you, Windsor.”

Calling all youth poets

Interested youth poets are encouraged to apply and may also be nominated for consideration for the role. The Youth Poet Laureate position will serve to honour a Windsor poet aged 14 to 24 years who writes excellent poetry and focuses on themes that are relevant to youth who live in the city of Windsor. This poet will provide a strong youth voice and will reach out to other youth to inspire interest in poetry and the literary arts. As an ambassador for youth, poetry, language and the arts, the youth poet laureate will create artistic work reflecting Windsor’s young people and the places, sites, identity and/or life of the city’s youth.

Applicants must reside in the city of Windsor and have a strong connection to the local arts, culture and heritage community. Through this process, the City is seeking out diverse voices and perspectives, including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour and equity-seeking writers and poets. Those working in non-traditional literary art forms (including spoken word artists and storytellers) are encouraged to apply.  


Invite Our Poets

To invite Windsor's Poet Laureate, Youth Poet Laureate or Poet Laureate Emeritus to attend and participate at your event, please email culturalaffairs@citywindsor.ca. Our poet laureate team may choose to prepare a new poem or read from existing works as part of your community event. All requests are submitted to the appropriate poet, and the poets themselves decide which events they are able to attend.  


Windsor's Poet Laureate

Windsor's poet laureate position will serve to honour a poet (aged 25 years and older) who writes excellent poetry and focuses on themes that are relevant to the people who live in the City of Windsor. This poet will serve as an ambassador for the arts, culture and heritage sectors in the City of Windsor and help to celebrate poetry and the arts – particularly the literary arts. As an ambassador for poetry and literature, the poet laureate will be invited to attend municipal events to share works and raise the profile of the literary arts in Windsor.

Duties, roles and responsibilities of the poet laureate: 

  • To serve as an ambassador for poetry, literature, literacy, and the literary arts;
  • Create artistic work that reflects Windsor’s people, places, sites, identity, and/or the life of the city;
  • Produce at least three original works for specific events or occasions identified by the City each year;
  • Make public presentations of their work at least three times a year;
  • Work with City Administration to produce at least one poetry event a year; and
  • Participate in the literary life of the city to raise the visibility of literacy, poetry, and spoken word.

Windsor's Youth Poet Laureate

Windsor's youth poet laureate position will serve to honour a poet (aged 14 to 24 years) who writes excellent poetry and focuses on themes that are relevant to youth who live in the City of Windsor. This poet will provide a strong youth voice and will reach out to other youth to inspire interest in poetry and the arts – particularly the literary arts. As an ambassador for youth, poetry, language and the arts, the youth poet laureate will be invited to attend municipal events to share works and increase engagement of youth with the arts.

Duties, roles and responsibilities of the youth poet laureate:

  • To serve as an ambassador for youth, poetry, literature, literacy, and the literary arts;
  • Create artistic work that reflects Windsor’s young people, places, sites, identity, and/or the life of the city’s youth;
  • Produce at least two original works for specific events or occasions identified by the City each year;
  • Make public presentations of their work at least two times a year;
  • Work with City Administration to produce at least one community youth poetry event a year; and
  • Participate in the literary life of the City to raise the visibility of youth, literacy, poetry, and spoken word.
 

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