To celebrate National Poetry Month and UNESCO World Poetry Day, each year municipalities across Canada are challenged to bring poetry into politics. One mayor leads this annual challenge by inviting a poet to read at a council meeting in March or April, and challenges mayors and councils across the nation to follow suit and join the celebration. Initiated by Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco in 2012, the Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge celebrates poetry, writing, small presses and the contribution of poets and all writers to the rich cultural life in our country. Last year the torch was passed from Regina to Calgary, and Mayor Nenshi’s first challenge was a huge success. With over seventy participants, the 2015 challenge was our largest yet—but we hope for even more in 2016!
We challenge Canada’s Poets Laureate—the celebrated poets across the nation—to reach out to each other and publish, in a small press edition, a poem by one another that can be distributed in your city’s council chambers.
Lopes and beaulieu challenge Canada’s Poets Laureate to request a poem from one of their fellow Poetry Challenge poets, design and publish a small edition and then graciously distribute that edition to members of their city council during National Poetry month and the Mayor’s Poetry Challenge.
With over 40 years of small press publishing combined, beaulieu and lopes believe that small press publishing is an easy and fun way of distributing poetry—anyone can do it! Any printed and folded page can enclose a poem in a thoughtful, simple means of slowing down the reader with a poetic moment.
These small editions will distribute the nation’s poems to city councilors and put poetry in people’s hands – weaving together the nation’s Poets Laureate into a tapestry of voices celebrated in city chambers across Canada!