HOW THE POSITION OF POET LAUREATE HAS CHANGED
Blog Posted:11/6/2017 3:12:00 PM
Just read a Brian Strand blog about poet laureates and thought I'd respond here with a link.
I can't speak of what the job entails in other countries, but here, in Canada, a poet laureate is expected to stay true to her/his poetry, not cough up poetry that glorifies country or province. It is not about 'made to order' poetry, at all.
One of our notable poet laureates is George Elliot Clarke, whose themes often confront imperialism and injustice. He did not alter his poetic voice when he accepted his role as a poet laureate. Poet laureates are not forced to write shmaltz that glorifies our nation,. They are expected to write poetry that matters, that speaks for and to its peoples. The poetry can confront, acknowledge and challenge the issues of today. The poetry can encourage change and social betterment.
Poet Laureate Micheline Maylor has this to say:
How do you feel the position has changed since its historical meaning and its tie to royalty?
Now, I think—I hope—it is an agency of social change, one that we can use for the betterment of society. So, I think of Shane Koyczan, for example who speaks about bullying and who is an activist. At one time the king or queen could have had you held in the tower for something so socially critical. So, the position has evolved for the better. It is important to have a laureate, an artistically aware voice that can both push and honour the establishment, the landscape, the times, and yes, all of those things are possible at one time.
PLEASE, CLICK ON THIS LINK (BELOW) AND READ ONE OF THE POEMS CHOSEN BY OUR POET LAUREATE TO SHARE WITH PARLIAMENT AND THE CITIZENS OF CANADA.