Calgary Poet Laureate

August 1, 2011

Here’s the letter the Foundation for Public Poetry had published in the Calgary Herald. The next day, Calgary City Council voted 13-2 in favour of having a Poet Laureate.

Properly paid
By Jack Locke, Calgary Herald July 24, 2011

Funding a poet laureate position can be the wisest investment a government makes. A poet can, and often does, help a community see the daily flaws and foibles that are commonplace. A poet can put those things we take for granted into a new perspective. A poet can illuminate the tiniest detail of daily life so that citizens become more considerate. A poet can help our technologically lusting world from becoming inhumane.

As Calgary’s city council debates the details of creating a poet laureate, I’d have to admit the principle is a great one. However, if city council does not see the great benefit from adequately funding such a position with municipal funds, then they should forgo the position.

An annual $10,000 contribution by the city is like the dandruff that falls from my scalp, almost imperceptible in the global scheme of things. If the city municipal corporation cannot pay a poet a decent sum, then $10,000 solicited from private funders is frankly an insult.

Calgary’s poet laureate should be compensated in a manner commensurate with Calgary’s reputation as a world-class city.

Jack Locke

Jack Locke is poet-in-chief at the Foundation for Public Poetry.


Garth Martens wins RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writer

April 7, 2011

from Writers Trust of Canada

Garth Martens has won the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for “Inheritance and Other Poems.” Martens is a 28-year-old, Victoria-based writer whose work has appeared in The Fiddlehead, Grain, Island Writer, and the anthology Leonard Cohen: You’re Our Man. He serves on the editorial board for The Malahat Review and works on a construction site in Kelowna, BC. His experience with machinery features prominently in his poetry. “Inheritance and Other Poems” is a selection from his work-in-progress manuscript entitled The Motive of Machines.

Montreal Poetry Prize

April 3, 2011

We’re not involved, but applaud the effort….

The early entry deadline for the competition is April 22. The final deadline is
July 8, 2011.

The Montreal International Poetry Prize will award $50,000 for a single poem in any style and in any English dialect. We will also produce an annual global poetry anthology – something curiously missing from our cultural environment.

To reflect its global perspective, the Montreal Prize has assembled an editorial board of accomplished poets from Australia, Canada, England, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malawi, Nigeria, Northern Ireland and the US.

These poets will select 50 poems for the competition’s shortlist, which will be published in a unique global poetry anthology, representing the very latest work from around the world. From these finalists, Andrew Motion will select the winner of the prize. The international nature of our advisory board is a further expression of our global mission and includes Ben Okri, Don Paterson, and Jeet Thayil, to name a few.

As the Montreal Prize is a grassroots non-profit in its first year, we’re appealing to those interested in promoting poetry to help spread the word about our project. So we’re hoping that once you’ve had a look at our website at, you’ll consider informing your students, friends and colleagues about this ambitious, fun and hopefully inspiring new project for poets everywhere. You can also find out more about us at

The early entry deadline for the competition is April 22.