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.

Youth Poetry Summer Camp with Paige Pierce

July 22 - 26 | 1 - 4PM | Beban Park | # 117057 | $30
Join Nanaimo’s newest Youth Poet Laureate, Paige Pierce, for a truly unique opportunity to develop skills as a beginner poet. Paige will guide participants in experimenting with different styles of poetry and building an understanding of voice in literature – creating community in the process! Ages 12-18.

Call for Youth Poets

More information HERE. 

Paige Pierce (2024 - 2026)

Paige Pierce is an author, pre-service teacher, and university student from Campbell River, BC. Paige moved to Nanaimo two years ago to study at Vancouver Island University, where she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree. Her dream is to be an English and Social Studies teacher in high schools, where she can share her passion for reading and writing with future generations of students and foster creativity and community in her classrooms.

Throughout her life, Paige has maintained a dedicated and ever-evolving love of literature, spending most of her free time surrounded by books of all genres. In 2018, at the age of 15, Paige self-published her first book: a collection of poetry titled Coloured Ink. Paige continued writing throughout her adolescence and early adulthood, and has now published seven books of poetry, including several Amazon best-sellers.

Her work features discussions on love, growing up, death and grieving, body image, friendship, travel, and feminism, and can be found online anywhere that sells books.

When she is not writing, Paige can often be found at the beach, in cafés, or spending time with her friends and family.

Paige’s goal as she moves into the City of Nanaimo’s Youth Poet Laureate role is to develop a community of aspiring and practicing poets to draft, refine, and share their work. She also hopes to host readings and poetry café events to showcase the voices of young writers in Nanaimo. Paige believes that poetry should be accessible to contemporary audiences, and while some may find it intimidating or confusing, there is a style of poetry for everyone. She is very excited to be working with a group of dedicated readers, writers, and community members over the course of her term with the City of Nanaimo.

Valina Zanetti (2019-2021)

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 had the ability to be inspirational to aspiring young poets and worked with them on creative initiatives. "Youth nowadays have a lot to say, so I am excited to help let these passionate young minds be heard" said Valina.

  • During her term as Youth Poet Laureate in early 2019, she 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.
  • 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: June 20, 2024

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