Deirdre Kessler has been named the new Poet Laureate for Prince Edward Island, says Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie.
“From her works of poetry and children’s fiction, to her work teaching creative writing, Ms. Kessler has already made a significant impact on our Island culture,” said Minister Currie. “As Poet Laureate, I know she will help us celebrate poetry in Prince Edward Island.”
The Island’s sixth Poet Laureate is a poet, writer, and teacher. Her collections of poetry are Afternoon Horses, Subtracting by Seventeen, and Rearranging the Sky. Ms. Kessler currently teaches children’s literature and creative writing part-time with the University of Prince Edward Island’s Department of English.
“My first response to being asked to be Poet Laureate was to feel completely daunted. The former Poets Laureate have set the bar high. My second responses were to be honoured and delighted,” said Poet Laureate Deirdre Kessler. “I would like to focus on promoting a return to the oral tradition of poetry by organizing recitals in schools and in public venues, with poems read aloud in English, French, Mi’kmaq, Gaelic, and other languages of the many lands and cultures reflected in our Island society.”
Ms. Kessler plans to gather the poets laureate retired—John Smith, David Helwig, Hugh MacDonald, and Dianne Morrow—for an afternoon public reading of their poems. She also plans to work with the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada to present poems from around the world read aloud in their original languages, with brief commentaries or translations.
The post of Poet Laureate, which was established in 2002, was created to recognize long-term contributions to the literary arts in the province. The role of the Poet Laureate is to make Islanders aware of the important role that poetry plays in the literary life of the province and to serve as a cultural ambassador.
“I offer my sincere thanks to outgoing Poet Laureate Dianne Hicks Morrow who has been particularly active and has participated in readings and writing activities across the province,” added Minister Currie.
For more information on the Poet Laureate program, visit http://www.gov.pe.ca/eecd/poetlaureate