The public is being invited to join the City of Kingston’s Poets Laureate, both past and present, to celebrate National Poetry Month.
To mark the occasion, the City in partnership with the Kingston Frontenac Public Library will be hosting an evening of poetry readings on Tuesday, April 30 from 7pm to 9pm.
The event, which will be held at the Central Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (130 Johnson St.), will also recognize the legacy and achievements of outgoing Poet Laureate, Helen Humphreys, and welcome incoming Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux who will both read selections from their work.
Also in attendance will be Kingston’s first Poet Laureate, Eric Folsom, along with three local emerging poets: Ky Pearce, Ashley-Elizabeth Best and Zoe Coulter. Live music will be performed by Darrell Bryan.
Danika Lochhead, manager, arts and sector development, said in a release that the City is incredibly fortunate to have so many great writers and poets who make Kingston their home, adding “Since its inception, the City’s Poet Laureate program has supported our strong literary community and increased the profile of the literary arts within the City and beyond.”
This event is free and ASL translation and light refreshments will be provided.
Poet Bios, as provided by the City of Kingston:
The City’s current Poet Laureate (2019-2022) is the author of four books of poetry, including Hard Work Cheering Up Sad Machines (2016) and three novels, including Amusement Park of Constant Sorrow, published last year. Born in Montreal, Heroux moved to Kingston in 1990 to study at Queen’s University. His works have been translated into French, Italian and Arabic and appeared in several anthologies. He also works at ServiceOntario and has three cats named after poets: Akira, Pablo and Neruda.
Poet Laureate from 2015-18, Humphreys has published four collections of poetry and several novels and books of non-fiction, including Anthem (poetry, 1999), The Evening Chorus: A Novel (2015) and Nocturne (memoir, 2013). Accolades for her work include the City of Toronto Book Award, the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize, the Lamba Prize for Fiction and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. Humphreys regularly teaches writing across the country and has also served as a writer-in-residence at Queen’s University.
The City’s first Poet Laureate (2011-2014), Folsom is the author of diverse collections of poetry, including What Kind of Love Did You Have in Mind? and Poems For Little Cataraqui. He was an editor for Quarry Magazine, taught writing, hosted the Cargo Kulture poetry reading series and has long been a librarian. His work has been widely published in Canadian literary journals and anthologies – and read on CBC’s The Vinyl Cafe.
They got their start writing poetry growing up in rural Newfoundland and now, in addition to writing poetry, Pearce is also a doctoral student at Queen’s University exploring rurality and Indigeneity as they relate to queerness. Pearce chairs the Queen’s Cultural Studies program’s Curriculum Committee, serves on its ethics review board and coordinates the annual international UnDisciplined graduate conference. You can also catch them reading at the Elm Café’s poetry nights.
From Cobourg, ON who now lives and writes in Kingston, Best’s work has appeared in CV2, Berfrois, Grist, Ambit Magazine and The Literary Review of Canada. In 2015 she was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her debut collection, Slow States of Collapse was published with ECW Press.
Coulter has lived half her life in the city and half in the country, and this is probably due to the fact that she has too many interests to choose between. Among other things, she loves books (especially sci-fi and fantasy), music and the outdoors. Coulter writes poetry and the occasional short story, and is currently learning how to play the guitar.