Update: ‘First-of-its-kind’ poet program to launch in Hamilton


Published September 18, 2023 at 4:26 pm

poets hamilton city program

Hamilton is searching for its first poet or spoken word artist who will lead projects that will enhance the city’s public spaces for a two-year term, a program it says is the first of its kind in Canada.

It will accept applications from Sept. 25 until Nov. 3. A selection committee will announce its choice in early 2024. The poet or spoken word artist won’t be an employee of the City but will be awarded a $20,000 honorarium over a two-year term. 

The City described the Hamilton-based poet’s mission as “creative placemaking projects,” referring to a process of enhancing public spaces. 

In partnership with the Hamilton Public Library, the “Poet in Place” will deliver performances of original works, placemaking and public art projects and programs that will widen the accessibility of poetry and spoken word.

“The Poet in Place is an accessible and inclusive program that strives to create meaningful opportunities for Hamiltonians to engage with the poetic arts,” the City wrote in a press release today (Sept. 18).

Candidates must be page poets and spoken word artists based in Hamilton. Published poetry is not a requirement and public performance experience is eligible.

The City said it consulted with the local literary community to develop the program. 

The mayor and City council directed the development of the program in the fall of 2022, according to Brianne Gascho, the City’s cultural projects specialist. Tourism and culture staff then recommended a program on May 31, which council approved.

“This program is a two-year pilot project that is funded by a capital reserve fund for cultural projects,” said Gascho in an email to inthehammer.com. “Poet programs can be found at many municipalities across Canada.”

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