It has been a busy year for Jason Heroux who was appointed our new Poet Laureate in December 2018. Jason is the third person to hold this position, having been preceded by Eric Folsom and Helen Humphreys, and it is a role he will continue to fill for four years as a spokesperson for the literary arts in the community.
Of course, Kingston is already well-known as a literary city thanks to the number of writers who call this city their home and thanks to the existence of literary festivals such as Kingston WritersFest, and an endless number of community-led poetry and literary events and readings. Celebrating Kingston’s rich literary identity was part of the inspiration for Jason’s first new poem as Poet Laureate, titled “I Woke Up in My City” that he read at the Mayor’s Levee on January 1, 2019. We’re thrilled to also share his newest poem that was shared yesterday at the 2020 Mayor’s Levee event titled “New Year”.
In addition to writing new poems, an important component of the Poet Laureate position is to attend both community and City-led events to promote literature and to enhance the profile of the literary arts within the City and beyond. Jason has taken up the charge with enthusiasm and the following list of activities provides a snapshot of what he has accomplished this past year.
Kingston Canadian Film Festival premiere of “Who Is Bruce Kauffman?” Photo provided by Jason.
Poetry installation at Confederation Park as part of Ontario Street: A Vibrant Spaces Project. Photo provided by Jason.
Throughout the year, Jason has also been selecting poems by local poets to feature as part of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s Poetry Blackboard. The Poetry Blackboard was started by Helen Humphreys in 2015 as a way to feature work written by local poets living and dead, historical and contemporary, published and unpublished, adults and children, giving full range to the cultural voice of Kingston.
We are grateful to Jason for his commitment to the role of Poet Laureate and look forward to continuing to support the literary arts in Kingston with his help. Keep reading!