Nanaimo seeking its next Poet Laureate (2021-2023)

The Poet Laureate is a literary ambassador for the City of Nanaimo. Through their role they raise the profile of literary arts in our community by creating and presenting poetic works and activities that are relevant to our times and respond to our place. Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will engage and inspire, bring their own unique voice and experience to collaborate and realize poetry projects for the benefit of our community. 

The deadline for applications was April 30, 2021.

Activating poetry through a Civic Role 
The activities of the Poet Laureate will be shaped by the Poet’s own artistic objectives and trajectory. They will be invited to:

  • participate in the life of the city and serve as a literary ambassador for Nanaimo;
  • participate in agreed upon civic events by presenting works that are relevant to life in Nanaimo. Events in the past include reciting at civic Canada Day celebrations, or at Council meetings);
  • inform and participate in programming organized by the City, or by City partners, related to National Poetry Month (April);
  • produce at least one new work each year that is relevant to life in Nanaimo and collaborate to disseminate that work to a broad public
  • liaise with and serve as a mentor to Nanaimo’s Youth Poet Laureate 
  • work in collaboration with City Staff and other partners as appropriate. 
Term and Remuneration
The City of Nanaimo’s Poet Laureate will be appointed to a two year term, to begin in June 2021.  The position includes a $2500 honorarium each year and $500 in project funding each year. 
Eligibility Criteria
Candidates must be able to demonstrate a track record of engagement with the literary community, and a commitment to poetry as a practice. Candidates must reside in Nanaimo.
Selection Process
A panel will review applications and invite selected candidates for an interview.
Decisions will be based on the applicant’s past artistic work, their demonstrated ability to engage and inspire through programs and public presentation, and their clear and innovative vision for their tenure as Poet Laureate. 
The panel will provide a recommendation and the Poet Laureate will be appointed by City Council.  

How to Apply
There are two ways to submit your application package:

  1. Submit your application online using the online submission form (now closed); or
  2. Read the PDF form and drop off your submission in-person to the Culture & Events Dropbox, located at the Bowen Complex, 500 Bowen Road. The Dropbox is located on the lower level of the building near the tennis courts (Pine Street Entrance). Please enclosed in a sealed envelope clearly marked: Your Name, Poet Laureate Program, City of Nanaimo, Culture and Events.

Tina Biello (2017-2020)

Tina Biello was selected as Poet Laureate for her strong connection to the artistic community and passion for the arts.  She has a great vision and plan for her new role and is very keen and excited to engage the mainstream community in poetry.   As a published poet who has done readings in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Fanny Bay, Montreal and Italy, she has seen firsthand the importance of getting poetry to more of the population. Most people who attend readings are already poetry aficionados, but Ms. Biello would love to see more people appreciate the power of poetry.  She understands the importance of collaborating with other art forms through her experience working with other artists. She also worked with composers and has even had her poems composed into music.

Naomi Beth Wakan (2013-2016)

Naomi Beth Wakan was named Nanaimo's inaugural Poet Laureate from 2013 to 2016. She raised awareness of poetry, literary arts and the positive impact that poetry has on community life. She is a prolific writer and a respected member of the local literary community.


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Last updated: May 3, 2021

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