“Word up!” The Comox Valley is about to become a more culturally literate place.
The Comox Valley Community Arts Council has begun a search for the Valley’s first designated poet laureate, to engage and inspire the community for a two-year term.
“This is a very inclusive, big-tent project,” says CVCAC president Jamie Bowman. “We’re inviting all forms of poetic creation, including classic page poets, lyricists, rappers and spoken word artists. It’s not necessary to have been published.”
The winner will not only get to open for iconic Canadian spoken word artist Shane Koyczan March 24 at the Sid Williams Theatre, but will be awarded a $1,000 honorarium to carry out poet laureate duties over the term.
“Just as writing is a social catalyst, a poet laureate can be seen as a community alchemist, divining the moments to lament and celebrate, using his or her words to glue people together in times of joy and sorrow,” says Linda Rogers, past poet laureate for Victoria and on the jury to choose a poet laureate here.
Cumberland Village Works, School District 71, the City of Courtenay and the Vancouver Island Regional Library have all stepped up to partner financially.
The winner will be expected to create works during the year, appear at significant community events (i.e. Elevate the Arts, Miners Memorial, Canada Day, etc.), work to stimulate and encourage poetic and cultural writing, and serve as a lightning rod for the mood of the community.
Joining Rogers on the judging panel are Anne Cumming, the English Department Chair at North Island College, an as-yet unnamed lyricist, and Eric Ettinger, half of the rap duo Butterfinger Bombsquad, which opened for 2-Live Crew, and whose past group Still-life Family opened for Chali Tuna, De La Soul and Abstract Rude.
“Writers can either apply or be nominated by someone who knows the value of their work and their potential for the community,” said Bowman.
“Beauty is not only in the eyes, but also in the ears and feelings of the beholder.”
Full entry and nomination details are at www.comoxvalleyarts.com.