Youth Poet Laureate

The Youth Poet Laureate serves as a “young people’s poet”, raising awareness of poetry, the literary arts and the positive impact literature and poetry can have on community life.  

Valina Zanetti (2019-2021)

At their meeting held February 4, 2019, Council appointed Ms. Valina Zanetti as Nanaimo's next Youth Poet Laureate for a two-year term. Valina was chosen for her ability to clearly articulate her goals as the Youth Poet Laureate. Many of her ideas had great aspects and spoke of the importance of partnerships and collaborations, and her love for animals really shone through. Valina has the ability to be very inspirational to aspiring young poets and is looking forward to working with them on many creative initiatives. "Youth nowadays have a lot to say, so I am excited to help let these passionate young minds be heard" said Valina. 


Meet Valina

Valina Zanetti is Nanaimo’s Youth Poet Laureate. She was born in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, BC. She writes poetry on many matters, but when she can write poems based on something that brings up a lot of emotion, she enjoys it more.

Since being appointed to the role of Youth Poet Laureate in early 2019, she has recited poetry at numerous events. At Nanaimo’s 2019 Canada Day Celebration at Maffeo Sutton Park, she read her poem "My Canada" which was based on memories of Canada Day with her dad when she was younger.

Valina loves animals and spends a lot of her free time taking care of her animals on her family’s hobby farm. In 2020, Valina led a youth poetry initiative called “Be Kind to All Kinds” to raise awareness of the BCSPCA. When asked to share her vision for Nanaimo's future as part of the REIMAGINE NANAIMO, she responded with a poem titled "The Change I Want to See." 

Kailey DeFehr (2017-2018)

Kailey DeFehr was named Nanaimo’s inaugural Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. Her goal was to extend her passion to other young poets within the community, to help them find or rediscover a voice that matters: their own.  Poetry has a tendency to be undervalued, and Ms. DeFehr believes that young poets may have a difficult time admitting in today’s world how much we love and appreciate this ancient form of communication. Kailey added a long list of accomplishments during her term, including:

  • Interviews with Nanaimo News Bulletin and TheNav
  • Poetry readings various City Council meetings, local performances and events, including: Canada’s 150th Anniversary Party at VIRL, a Wordstorm event, the Poet Laureate Gala Celebration, Youth Advisory Council meeting, and a Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre event
  • Hosted workshops and presentations at VIU, various high schools and the Youth Engagement Forum
  • Launched the City's High School Poetry Contest
  • Launched City's “Beyond These City Streets” Youth Poetry Video Anthology project


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Last updated: September 3, 2021

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