Sheri-D Wilson named Calgary’s new Poet Laureate

For many, Sheri-D Wilson is Calgary poetry.

Now it’s official.

The longtime staple of Calgary’s spoken-word and written-form poetry scene was announced today in City Hall’s Council Chambers as the city’s fourth Poet Laureate.

She takes over from Micheline Maylor, whose two-year term has just come to a close

The Poet Laureate program is a wonderful way to reflect our city and its citizens through the power of words and language,” Patti Pon, president & CEO of Calgary Arts Development, said in a release.

“We thank Micheline Maylor for her skill, her generous spirit, and her deep connections to the community during the last two years as Calgary’s Poet Laureate.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Sheri-D Wilson to the position for the next two years. Sheri-D is a formidable voice in our community and we look forward to seeing how she will bring her own depth of character, sense of curiosity, and gusto to the role.”

Wilson’s resume is an extensive one and her reputation is international, with her having released 11 books, created short films and music/poetry albums, and having taught and performed all through North and South America, and Europe.

In 2017, she received her Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from Kwantlen University, and throughout her career she has been a strong promotor and mentor to this city’s spoken word community.

“As poets speak so they listen—poets listen through the ideas that arrive and arise from the earth and through community eyes. Calgary, Mohkínstsis, the place where two rivers meet—is an epicentre of poetry and spoken word,” Wilson said in the release.

“Poets live without boundaries—and poetry sings with the inclusive voice of all people. I am honoured to be the fourth Poet Laureate of my birthplace, Calgary, and I will do the best damn job that I can!”

The role of Poet Laureate was created in 2011, and is funded by a group of Calgary Poet Laureate Ambassadors, currently including Calgary Foundation, Calgary Chamber, and Brookfield Residential, and is administered by Calgary Arts Development with a volunteer selection committee. The role comes with a $10,000-per-year honorarium.

Previous Poet Laureates are Kris Demeanor, the first who served from 2012 to 2014, with derek beaulieu taking the role from 2014 to 2016.

(Photo of Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Sheri-D Wilson courtesy Amy Jo Espetveidt.)